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Speakers at this year's Baccalaureate Ceremony include University Chaplain Chaz Howard. Credit: Kylie Cooper

The annual Baccalaureate Ceremony, typically held the day before Commencement, will now be held at the beginning of senior week on May 10.

Baccalaureate has been held at Penn since 1865 and is one of the oldest graduation traditions at the University. The annual ceremony is an interfaith celebration for graduating seniors that features speakers and performances and addresses aspects of moral life and its relation to a liberal education through speeches, songs, and readings.

This year's ceremony will be held on Tuesday in Irvine Auditorium at 4 p.m. and will feature speeches from Interim President Wendell Pritchett, University Chaplain Chaz Howard, and Penn professor Dorothy Roberts.

“There's not a ton of time to stop and give thanks and reflect on the last few years and Baccalaureate is meant to be that,” Howard said. “It’s a chance for the class to sit together and look back and look inward and look ahead.”

Howard said that changing the date of the ceremony allows it to be branded as a part of Senior Week and allows more students to attend and be a part of the tradition.

He added that this year's ceremony will be more student-driven and will feature an address from the Senior Class Board president and readings by Penn student leaders. It will also include performances by student groups, such as Penn Student Ensemble, Glee Club, Penn Lions, Atma, and Penn Band.

Senior Class Board President Sam Strickberger said that starting Senior Week with a cherished tradition like Baccalaureate will be a good introduction to the rest of graduation. 

“It's exciting to participate in something that generations of Penn students have done. We’re graduating from college with 2,500 other people, and marking it in a way that people have marked for a long time,” College senior Strickberger said.

The Class of 2022 will be the first class in two years whose graduation events are all scheduled to be in person, including Commencement, which will take place on Franklin Field on May 16.

“I'm excited to be in person to be with the whole Class of 2022 and celebrate and reflect on our four years at Penn, which have been filled with a bunch of struggles and triumphs,” Strickberger said.