Skip to main content

Commencement and Baccalaureate Collection

Identifier: UA370

  • Staff Only


This collection consists of selected programs, addresses, invitations, instructions, and printed material produced for the commencement and/or baccalaureate ceremonies at Georgia Tech.


  • 1899-1981 (bulk dates 1902-1973)
  • Majority of material found within 1902 - 1973


General Physical Description note

(4 document cases and 3 half-size document cases)

Restrictions: Access

No restrictions on access.

Restrictions: Use

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


2.2 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of programs, addresses, invitations, instructions, and printed material produced for the commencement and/or baccalaureate ceremonies at Georgia Tech.

Series 1 of this collection contains instruction sheets for selected years regarding the date, place, and time of the ceremonies; the time for assembly; and special instructions. Series 2 consists of invitations to the commencement exercises for selected years. Copies of the texts of the addresses delivered at selected commencement exercises and baccalaureate ceremonies are included in Series 3. Series 4 contains program booklets and paper programs for baccalaureate and commencement exercises for selected years from 1914 to the early 1970s. Two programs from the Army Specialized Training Program graduations, dating from 1943 and 1944, also form a part of this series. Series 5 is made up of the commencement issues of selected Georgia Tech publications.

Administrative History of Commencement 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. 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. 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. 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 began being held in 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.


Arranged into five series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Commencement and baccalaureate instructions
  2. SERIES 2. Commencement invitations
  3. SERIES 3. Addresses
  4. SERIES 4. Programs
  5. SERIES 5. Publications

Other Finding Aids

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


This collection was assembled by Archives and Records Management from numerous accession numbers. The main part of the collection was included in accession 1991.0604. Other accessions include: 2001.001, 2001.010, 2002.085, 2004.018, 2002.111, 2003.014, 2004.093, 2006.180, 2007.033, 2008.043, 2008.097, 2009.016. Accession number 1999.044, which was originally processed as MF050, has been reprocessed and included in this collection.


It is likely that this collection will have additional materials added in the future.

Related Materials

The Georgia Tech Archives holds a full run of printed programs for commencement. These have been cataloged as T171 .G42 G48x. The Commencement and quarter-centennial celebration of the Georgia School of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2d-11th, 1913 has been cataloged as T171 .G44 G124X 1913.

General Physical Description note

(4 document cases and 3 half-size document cases)

General note

This collection was partially processed at an earlier date as MS147.

Processing Information

Germaine Schanzmeyer and Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in June 2009.

Inventory of the Commencement and Baccalaureate Collection (Georgia Institute of Technology), 1899-1981 (bulk dates 1902-1973)
Germaine Schanzmeyer, Christine de Catanzaro
Copyright June 2009.
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