28 Photos From Columbia Commencement Week That Show How Happy We Are to Return to Campus to Celebrate Our Grads

For the past week, Columbians have turned out to celebrate the Classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 in style. 

Kelly Moffitt & Jennifer Pellerito
May 20, 2022

The past week has been a blur of celebration on Columbia's campuses, as we've finally been able to welcome our graduates home for school graduation ceremonies, University Commencement, a special celebration for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, and many more related activities. Our photographers have been there to capture it all.

This year, everyone at Columbia has been excited for the return to an in-person celebration for our graduates. Whether in Bangladesh, or Boulder, or right on Broadway, we love seeing our grads celebrate their accomplishments all across the world.

The Class of 2022 includes more than 14,400 students from Columbia’s 21 schools and affiliates. They come from over 138 countries, include 181 military veterans, 8 displaced scholars, and 76 staff members.

This year is also the first time that Columbia Climate School will grant degrees. More than 80 students celebrated during the school’s inaugural Class Day on May 13. 

Be sure to follow Columbia’s social media channels to let us know how you’ve been celebrating and use the hashtag #RoarLions2022, #RoarLions2021, and #RoarLions2020 to spread the word about our brilliant graduates. 

You can imagine how difficult it is to choose just a few photos to mark such a momentous week, so we encourage you to follow Columbia's Instagram to see even more snapshots of the fun. 

Roar, Lion, Roar!

Columbia University Commencement – May 18, 2022

Mabel Wilson holds to the ceremonial mace in a red gown and black hat.

The university breaks out the mace for ceremonial occasions, like graduation, where the mace symbolizes the university president’s ability to confer degrees. A little more backstory: the mace is made of Sheffield plate and was donated to Columbia in 1933 by John Munro Woolsey (LAW’1901, HON’29), a federal judge who that same year was best known for his ruling that James Joyce’s Ulysses was not obscene. He was also a founding member of the Columbia Law Review. You can learn more about the mace here. 

Roar-EE poses with a student during the academic procession
Honorary Degree recipient Patti Smith enters in the processional to Columbia Commencement.
Cayleigh Capaldi and Morgan Grant sing and sign the Nation Anthem
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by Jordan Alexander James Jarrett and Morgan Grant.
University President Lee C. Bollinger delivers his commencement address in front of Low Library.

President Bollinger discussed free speech, knowledge, expertise, and humility, as well as the role of universities as a force for good in society. You can read more about his speech here or watch the full video clip. 

Hillary Clinton gives a speech in front of Alma Mater.
Honorary Degree recipient Yo-Yo Ma throw up a heart sign at the Class of 2022.
Joyful Barnard grads in caps and gowns at University Commencement.
Columbia College Dean James J. Valentini with an inflatable lion
Columbia College students wave inflatable lions during Commencement.
SEAS students in cap and gowns wave inflatable red hammers at Commencement.
Students in caps and gowns hug in celebration after degrees are conferred.
Two Columbia grads show off their decorated mortar boards on Commencement day.
Three Columbia students with umbrellas line up for the Academic Procession.
Three grads in Latinx stoles line up in the Academic Procession.
Notes and Keys perform at the celebration for 2020 and 2021 grads
Provost Mary Boyce and President Lee C. Bollinger applaud the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
Tom Kitt and Brandon Victor Dixon perform 'Oh Columbia.'
Teachers College grads hoist a mylar ballon in the shape of "T" and "C" at the Celebration for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
A grad erupts in a cheer during the ceremony for classes of 2020 and 2021.
One of the Columbia hawks observes the celebration for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 from a flag pole.
Celebration of undergrads from 2020 and 2021.

Photos from Graduation Ceremonies Throughout the Week

There are dozens of photos from specific school ceremonies that have been and will be posted in the coming week on Columbia's Instagram. Check them out!

Students enter St. Paul's Chapel for the Baccalaureate service.

The Baccalaureate Service is an interfaith, intercultural service celebrating each undergraduate's academic career. You can watch the full ceremony and learn more about the service here. 

Climate School Deans Alex Halliday and Jason Bordoff enter the Climate School ceremony on a bike.
The inaugural Climate School graduating class poses in front of Miller Theater.

The Columbia Climate School marked its first Class Day since the school's establishment in 2021. You can read more about the ceremony here and view photos and videos here

School of Professional Studies students pose in front of the thinker statue in caps and gowns.

This is one of our most-recommended grad photo spots! Love the thinking pose. 

Looking for more stories from Commencement? Check out all of our coverage here.