There were fond farewells, a few chuckles, and best wishes for the future at the annual Class Day ceremonies in Harvard Yard on Wednesday (May 26), the day before Commencement Exercises lay the pomp and circumstance on thickly.

Featuring CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour as the main speaker, Class Day brought graduating seniors together in Harvard Yard’s Tercentenary Theatre, the tree-shaded space between the Memorial Church and Widener Library, for an afternoon ceremony and a speaker selected by class members.

Traditionally less formal than the morning and afternoon Commencement Exercises on Thursday (May 27), Class Day features several student speakers, delivering the Ivy and Harvard orations. It provides a chance for Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds to address the class, which the tight pacing of the Commencement Day program doesn’t allow.

Students left Class Day ceremonies to attend House masters’ receptions for seniors and their guests, and then returned to the Yard for an evening concert by the Radcliffe Choral Society, the Harvard Glee Club, and the Harvard University Band.

Class Day 2010

Rose Lincoln, Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographers

  • CNN, reporting in

    CNN, reporting in

    International television correspondent Christiane Amanpour was the main speaker for this year’s Class Day ceremonies, traditionally organized by the seniors and held the day before Commencement.

  • Getting the message

    Getting the message

    Christopher Miller '10 listens to Amanpour's words of advice to the senior class.

  • Sea of listeners

    Sea of listeners

    Seniors and their families gather in Tercentenary Theatre for Class Day festivities.

  • Friends and families

    Friends and families

    Audience members pay close attention to the speakers.

  • Having a heat wave

    Having a heat wave

    A.C. Gomez '13 waits for empty water containers to be picked up.

  • Temperature up, jacket off

    Temperature up, jacket off

    Featured speaker Christiane Amanpour succumbs to the heat and removes her jacket.

  • The lighter side

    The lighter side

    Jose Robles (from left), Silvia Robles, and Victoria Robles enjoy the speeches.

  • Ode to Harvard

    Ode to Harvard

    Senior MacKenzie Sigalos delivers one of two Harvard orations, a Class Day tradition. The occasion also featured the humorous Ivy orations.

  • Graduation gathering

    Graduation gathering

    Sanjey Sivanesan '10 (from left), Kaartiga Sivanesan '06, and their mother, Renuka Sivanesan, listen carefully.

  • Moments for memories

    Moments for memories

    Amanpour poses for photographs with seniors and their families.

  • Tune time

    Tune time

    Audience members listen to the Harvard Band at the close of the day's ceremonies.

  • An audience request

    An audience request

    Seniors Caitlin Lewarch, Anne Calkins, and Laura Garvin playfully gesture for the band to play the second stanza of "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard."