Instead of filling up Sanford Stadium with University of Georgia graduates in their caps and gowns, fall 2020 graduates and their families tuned in to a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday morning.
Though the spring 2020 ceremony was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, spring 2020 graduates still gathered in Sanford Stadium to be recognized in October. A week after spring commencement, UGA announced the fall 2020 commencement would be virtual.
The virtual ceremony opened with videos of some of the members of the class of 2020 talking about their experiences at UGA.
“My time at the University of Georgia has been phenomenal,” Alyssia Mitchell, a fall 2020 graduate with a degree in finance, said in the video. “As an out-of-state student, I thought that making a large university small would be impossible. However, I found that that was far from the truth.”
After playing a video of the national anthem sung by Harrison Stenson, a member of the class of 2020, and a video of Provost Jack Hu introducing graduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages, a video compilation of UGA professors and alumni congratulating the class of 2020 played. Notable alumni who spoke include former Georgia Bulldogs kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who graduated in 2018, and NASA Project Manager Roger Hunter, who graduated in 1978.
Following the initial announcements and congratulations, each college was introduced by its dean and had the graduates’ names scroll through the screen on the left, while photos of students and their favorite memories from UGA scrolled through on the right. The whole virtual ceremony took about an hour and a half, with 2,589 views as of press time.
“Graduates, throughout your time at the University of Georgia, you have committed to a goal, worked hard to achieve it, and dedicated yourself to the ideals of this institution,” said UGA President Jere Morehead. “Today is symbolic of your resilience and determination, your adaptability and resourcefulness. I commend you for all that you have overcome and all that you have sacrificed to keep yourself and others safe during the pandemic. Although we are not able to be together in person, we are together in spirit.”