Campus & Community

Tradition rings out

2 min read

On Commencement Day, bells will peal in chimes of celebration

A peal of bells will ring throughout Cambridge next week, on June 4. For the 21st consecutive year a number of neighboring churches and institutions will ring their bells in celebration of the city of Cambridge and of Harvard’s 358th Commencement Exercises.

In a bow to earlier history when bells of varying tones summoned people from sleep to prayer, to work, or to study, this joyful noise will begin at 11:30 a.m., just after the sheriff of Middlesex County declares the Commencement Exercises adjourned. The bells will ring for approximately 15 minutes.

The bell in the Memorial Church tower, for years the only bell to acknowledge the festival rites of Commencement Day, will be joined by the pealing of a set of new bells replacing the 17-bell Russian zvon of Lowell House that was returned in 2008 to the Danilov Monastery near Moscow, the bell of the Harvard Business School, the Harvard Divinity School bell in Andover Hall, the historic “Harvard Chime” of Christ Church Cambridge, and the bells of the Church of the New Jerusalem, First Church Congregational, First Parish Unitarian Universalist, St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, University Lutheran Church, Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, First Baptist Church, and St. Anthony’s Church.

Other churches or institutions interested in participating in this happy tintinnabulation are invited and encouraged to do so.

— Cynthia Rossano