Commencement Exercises on the University Heights campus, 1922

The first public graduation ceremony took place on July 17, 1834, just two years after the University opened. In 1835, when NYU had completed its own University Building on Washington Square East, Commencement was moved to the square.

Between 1900 and 1969, Commencement took place at NYU’s Universitiy Heights campus in the Bronx. At first, exercises were held inside the auditorium of the Gould Memorial Library. The ceremonies moved outdoors in the 1920s, when they were held near the Hall of Fame, adjacent to the Gould Library. From 1932 until the late 1960s, Commencement took place on Ohio Field. In 1969 Commencement was held in Madison Square Garden, and two years later, in Radio City Music Hall.

In 1976, Commencement returned to the site of its early days at the Square, this time for an outdoor ceremony in the park—a tradition that continues today.

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