Universities celebrate spring class of 2020 commencement ceremonies virtually


(Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — This weekend would normally be the time when families and friends gather to cheer on their loved ones as they walk across a graduation stage to conclude years of hard work.

This year is a little bit different.

Although students could not physically walk across the stage, universities adapted to the coronavirus pandemic and many continued forward with virtual commencement ceremonies.

Norfolk State University

From taking their last final to walking across the stage, seniors graduating from Norfolk State University had plenty to look forward to. Most notably, Norfolk State had managed to enlist Hampton Roads native Pharrell Williams as a speaker.

On Saturday, NSU had its Class of 2020 address for graduates hosted on their website. Many assumed Pharrell would not be speaking at all, but the University kept the secret that he would still be addressing them in a recorded message.

Old Dominion University

The Old Dominion University celebration included virtual events, social media challenges, a video montage from the graduating class, and a video message from President John R. Broderick.

“Graduates, this has been a semester unlike any we have previously experienced,” Broderick said. “With the resiliency that defines our Monarch spirit, together we have risen to face every challenge that has come our way during this global pandemic. And you have made it to the finish line, completing all those requirements for graduation.”

He continued, “Commencement is one of the greatest milestones of your life. Even though we can’t celebrate in person this weekend, today we celebrate virtually you and your success.”

This is not the final celebration for the Class of 2020 as an on-campus commencement is scheduled for December 18.

The videos from the ODU commencement can be viewed online.

Regent University

On Saturday, May 9, Regent celebrated its 40th Commencement with a digital graduation. The university had more than 50,000 viewers watch the event as the class of 2020 conferred nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate degrees making it the largest in Regent’s history.

“The class of 2020 has displayed remarkable resilience and fortitude during these trying times, and we are so proud of their tremendous accomplishments,” said Claire Foster, Regent’s vice president for Marketing & Public Relations. “The graduation packages were a fun way to show our love and support, and to help our graduates celebrate this significant milestone.”

The ceremony can be viewed online.

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