Can Penn alums join the Commencement procession?


Dear Benny,
I’m a staffer and Penn alumna and love all of the pomp and circumstance around graduation—especially the procession down Locust Walk. I was planning to cheer on the graduates from the sidelines on May 15, but noticed in photos from past Commencement processions that some alums hold flags with class years and march with the graduates. How do I join in?
—Proud Alumna

Dear Alumna,
Thanks for being such a cheerleader for Penn. While you can clap and cheer for the graduates as they make their way down Locust Walk, you’re right that some alumni hold flags emblazoned with their class years and march, too.

The only full classes invited to march in the Commencement procession are from the 25th and 50th reunion years. (This year, the Class of 1992 is celebrating its 25th reunion and the Class of 1967 marks its 50th.) Other years have one representative who carries their class flag during the procession. Typically, that person is either the class president or member of the class board.

If you still want to walk in a parade and aren’t celebrating a significant reunion year, you may want to purchase a ticket for Alumni Weekend, which begins on Friday, May 12. One of the centerpiece events of that annual gathering is the Alumni Parade of Classes. This year, the parade will take place on Saturday, May 13, from noon to 12:30 p.m. (lineup for the parade begins at 11:45 a.m.) All alumni, no matter the reunion year, are invited to gather under their class flag and process down Locust Walk; this year’s procession will be led by Joanne Thomson Welsh, a 1952 graduate of the College of Women, who is celebrating her 65th reunion.

For more information on Commencement, go to For details on Alumni Weekend—including registration—go to

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