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Georgia Tech Commencement Programs

Identifier: UP035

  • Staff Only


This collection consists of printed commencement programs for the Georgia Institute of Technology. Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available to view online:


  • 1895-2021


General Physical Description note

(five document cases, ca. 27 bound volumes)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


4.2 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of printed commencement programs for the Georgia Institute of Technology beginning in 1895, when the school was known as the Georgia School of Technology. The individual pages of the earliest programs, which were printed in issues of the Georgia Tech catalog, have been apparently removed from their original volumes.

Each program typically includes an order of the proceedings, often including a beginning invocation followed by the commencement address and conferring of degrees, and concluding with the Alma Mater. Each individual receiving a degree is listed in the program, grouped alphabetically by degree; those receiving honors are usually listed first under each degree. Graduate degrees are listed separately.

This collection includes almost a complete set of programs. For the years preceding World War II, there are no programs for 1899 and 1906. A few more recent programs are also missing, including those for the 196th commencement (September 1997), as well as for the 201st (December 1998), the 234th (August 2009), the 240th (August 2011), and the 243rd and 244th (August and December 2012).

Administrative History of Graduation Exercises at Georgia Tech

Graduation exercises at the Georgia School of Technology took place every June during Georgia Tech's early years. Although little is known about the earliest ceremonies, it is likely that graduation exercises began with the first graduating class of 1890 when Tech graduated two men, George G. Crawford and Henry L. Smith. Printed programs for Commencement Day ceremonies appeared in the Georgia Tech Bulletin beginning with the program for June 1895. In these early days the graduation exercises consisted of a single ceremony that included music, prayers, a baccalaureate address, and the conferring of degrees. The programs also usually list the home county of the graduates and the title of their thesis. The ceremony apparently took place on the Georgia Tech campus until about 1902. 1901 was the only year that commencement took place in November, to accommodate the so-called "Insubordinate Seniors."

From 1902 to 1916 the ceremonies were held at the Grand Opera House in Atlanta. The graduation ceremonies returned to the Georgia Tech campus in 1917, but between 1935 and 1938 the location was changed to The Fox Theatre. In 1939 the location once again returned to the Georgia Tech campus. Between 1943 and early 1946 graduations were held three times a year (usually in February, June, and October), presumably so that students could graduate before going to serve in World War II. After the war the commencement ceremonies reverted to the once-a-year schedule, usually in early June, and the venue switched back to the Fox Theatre.

Beginning in about 1970, graduation ceremonies began taking place three times a year, and in 1972 ceremonies began being held at the conclusion of every quarter, or four times a year (March, June, August or early September, and December). Ceremonies once again returned to the Georgia Tech campus in 1970, to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. When Tech converted to the semester system in the fall of 1999, graduation ceremonies reverted to a schedule of three times a year (May, August, and December).

As of 2009, the ceremonies continue to be held at a location on the Georgia Tech campus (frequently the Ferst Center for the Arts or the Alexander Memorial Coliseum). Because of the number of graduates, sometimes the spring graduations for masters and undergraduate degrees are held at a larger location such as the Georgia Dome.


Programs are arranged chronologically.

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


This is a collection that has been assembled and cataloged by the Georgia Tech Library and Information Center. Accession no. 2013.020.


Additions of current commencement programs are expected.

Related Materials

The Commencement and Baccalaureate Collection (UA370) contains programs, addresses, invitations, instructions, and printed material produced for the commencement and/or baccalaureate ceremonies at Georgia Tech.

General Physical Description note

(five document cases, ca. 27 bound volumes)


The programs in this collection are cataloged as T171 .G42 G48X.

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in March 2013.

Inventory of Commencement Programs (Georgia Institute of Technology), 1895-2010
Christine de Catanzaro
Copyright March 2013.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA