The University of Oregon has announced plans to celebrate the Class of 2020 both virtually at an event this spring and again next year in person, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the traditional commencement ceremony this year.
In an email to undergraduate and graduate students in the class, Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life, said the virtual ceremony to confer degrees will be Saturday, June 20.
“We have exciting things planned for this live event, and we sincerely hope you will tune in and celebrate with each other and your families,” Marbury said. “We want to make that day extra special so we’re putting together a celebration box full of surprises to be mailed to eligible students who register.”
Graduates from the 2020 class and their families also will be invited to participate in next spring’s in-person commencement June 14, 2021. The two classes will each receive distinct recognition as they celebrate together in what will be the largest graduation ceremony ever at the UO.
Marbury acknowledged the disappointment many are experiencing.
“We recognize that a virtual celebration is not how students pictured closing out their time at the University of Oregon,” he said. “But you have so much to celebrate. Your accomplishments and work along this journey have led you to this outstanding achievement. I am deeply proud of each of you, for your strength during this difficult time, for your resilience to push forward and for the community you share with each other.”
Marbury said the university decided to hold the two events after hearing from students and their families who shared feedback and ideas about how to celebrate the class. He said planners balanced the desires of the students with the need to address the future uncertainty about how COVID-19 may affect large gatherings in the future.
For this year’s event, a live celebration webcast will be followed by the release of prerecorded recognition of graduates in each school and college. Students will have an opportunity to personalize their individual recognition by adding a photo, message and short video.
Individual schools and colleges may also be hosting additional livestreamed or prerecorded events. A complete schedule will be listed on the commencement website in the coming weeks.
To register and learn more information, graduates are invited to visit the commencement website.