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With the fall 2020 commencement ceremony moving to a virtual platform, University of Georgia colleges and schools are finding ways to celebrate their graduates.



With the fall 2020 commencement ceremony moving to a virtual platform, University of Georgia colleges and schools are finding ways to celebrate their graduates.

The undergraduate, master’s and doctoral commencement ceremonies were shifted from a traditional in-person format to completely online, according to an Oct. 22 announcement. The combined virtual ceremony will be held on Dec. 18. No further details have been released, but the decision allowed individual schools to consider hosting events to celebrate their graduates. 

Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Director of Communications Sarah Freeman said Grady hosted a socially-distanced celebration on Nov. 20 where graduates could say farewell to faculty and staff, take photos and have coffee from Java Joy.

A virtual convocation for fall 2020 Grady graduates will be available to watch starting Dec. 17.

School of Public and International Affairs

SPIA will honor its graduates with a special virtual message from Dean Matthew Auer, Communications Director Caroline Paris Paczkowski said. 

Graduates will also receive a gift available for pickup in Candler Hall before Thanksgiving break.

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

The College of Family & Consumer Sciences graduates will receive a special message from Dean Linda Kirk Fox and Alumni Board President Kenneth Ivory in their graduation programs, which will be mailed to them.

Communications Director Cal Powell said each graduate will also receive a color print from a local artist.

Powell said FCS is still developing plans to honor and recognize graduates via social media and the college website.

Odum School of Ecology

Beth Gavrilles, communications coordinator for the Odum School of Ecology, said the school is in the process of creating a website to celebrate graduates, which will feature messages from faculty and family. 

If there is an in-person commencement ceremony in the spring semester, Gavrilles said fall 2020 graduates will be invited to participate.

College of Engineering

The College of Engineering will hold a virtual ceremony on Dec. 18. Event Coordinator Debra Lovelady said the last day that the college will offer professional pictures with caps and gowns for graduating students is Dec. 2.

 “We will then take these pictures and use them in our video that we will be producing for our virtual ceremony then the link to these pictures will be shared with the students so they can get a printed copy of their graduation picture,” Lovelady said. 

Students who already have graduation photos may submit them via a Qualtrics survey. 

Terry College of Business

According to Communications Director David Dodson, because Terry graduates participate in a special spring ceremony, as of press time, this tradition is still on the calendar.

The spring 2020 commencement was postponed along with the general undergraduate ceremony. Dodson said that fall 2020 Terry graduates are invited to the upcoming spring 2021 convocation.

College of Veterinary Medicine 

Because so few students graduate in the fall semester, Director of Communications Lisa Herrmann said the College of Veterinary Medicine has no college-wide plans for fall 2020 commencement.

While individual departments may celebrate fall graduates, Herrmann says the college as a whole is more focused on the upcoming May commencement. 

Mary Frances Early College of Education

Senior Communications Director Jen Williams said the Mary Frances Early College of Education will not be holding its own convocation. Students picked up graduation gifts on Nov. 19 at Aderhold Hall using their student ID. 

On Dec. 17, the original date of the commencement, the first cohort of graduates from the newly-named college will be celebrated with a special video featuring messages of well-wishes along with a collaborative Spotify playlist made by Dean Denise Spangler, the student ambassadors and the director of student engagement.