This morning Harvard witnessed its 301st Commencement. Some 15,000 seniors, alumni, dignitaries and guests filed past the Yard gates to the Tercentenary Theatre to see President Conant confer some 3,000 degrees on men graduating from various departments of the University.
The day's program began with a chapel service for seniors in Memorial Church at 9 a.m.
A half-hour later seniors in caps and gowns formed behind the Band near Holworthy Hall and lined up for their march into the theatre.
Governor Paul A. Dever started Commencement proceedings when he arrived at Johnston Gate at 9:45. The Governor, escorted by a company of mounted lancers from the State Police, then joined University dignitaries and the High Sheriff of Middlesex County to lead the procession.
Headed by President Conant and the Overseers, state officials, members of the faculty, and the honorary degree winners, the stage on the steps of Memorial Chapel.
Powell M. Cabot, University Marshall, called for Sheriff Howard Fitzpatrick to signal the start of the ceremonies. Fitzpatrick struck the stage with his scabbard and said "the meeting will be in order."
Dean Charles L. Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Harvard Board of Preachers, offered the opening prayer.
Three students then gave the traditional Commencement speeches. Irvan T. O'Connell, Jr. '52 presented the Latin Oration, John H. Mansfield '52 spoke on the "Importance of Medieval Philosophy" and Jack Edward Brown 3L gave an address entitled "The Challenge of Survival."
Following the speeches, President Conant awarded the degrees to graduating seniors and graduate students.
The presidents then made the awards of the honorary degrees.
The ceremony ended with the Commencement hymn and Taylor's benediction.
This afternoon, following lunches at the Houses for seniors and their guests and the Alumni luncheon in the Yard, the Alumni Association will hold its annual meeting in the Tercentenary Theatre at 1:45 p.m.
Two of the honorary degree winners will also address the alumni.
To Sanders in Rain
In case of rain, the alumni proceedings will be held in Sanders Theatre.
William M. Rand '09, president of the alumni association will speak and Governor Dever will bring the greetings of the Commonwealth.
It has not rained at a University Commencement once in the last 30 years. And chances are good that this will be the 31st rainless Commencement. According to the U.S. Weather Bureau, there is a slight possibility of a local shower late this afternoon, but chances are remote. It will, however, be hot, with the highest temperature around 88 degrees.