WPI’s Commencement Ceremony dates back to 1871 when the university sent the 16 young men of its very first graduating class out into the world. WPI celebrates the completion of graduate and undergraduate degree requirements with two separate ceremonies.
Across the two ceremonies, more than 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students took their final walk as students over Earle Bridge to receive their bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. The 2017 Commencement Ceremony included two honorary degree recipients, and the Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prize.
Audrey Carlan ’57 earned a master’s degree in physics as WPI’s first female graduate student. She proudly received her honorary doctorate in May 2017 after being greeted by a standing ovation from her fellow graduates.
On July 26, 1871, sixteen students took part at the first Commencement ceremony of the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science. Commencement exercises were held in the Chapel at Boynton Hall.