Penn State to recognize class of 2020 with virtual commencement ceremony

University exploring options for in-person celebrations when permitted
Credit: Patrick Mansell

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – In response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, orders from the state government and recommendations from global public health organizations, Penn State will hold its spring 2020 commencement ceremony via livestream on May 9. The virtual ceremony will recognize all Penn State undergraduate students and all graduate students in the Penn State Graduate School.

The University is committed to providing opportunities to invite the Class of 2020 back for in-person celebrations when public health guidelines allow. 

“While no one could have anticipated a virtual celebration, I want our graduates and their families to know we are excited to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Despite the disappointment of not doing so in-person, we are inspired by the idea that graduates and families across the United States and internationally will be able to mark this very special occasion. We are so proud of all our graduates, and of their parents and extended families who have contributed so much to their success. This is a moment to celebrate.” 

During the May 9 ceremony, members of the Penn State Class of 2020 and their friends and families are invited to gather together online as the University leadership recognizes them and confers their Penn State degrees. The streamed ceremony will feature formal remarks, musical performances and sharable digital slides honoring each graduate.

The College of Medicine, Dickinson Law, Penn State Law, and Penn College will manage their own celebrations and communicate directly to their graduates.

“We recognize and share the interest of students to return to campus, to come together as a community to celebrate Penn State’s Class of 2020,” he said. “A defining characteristic of Penn State is our community, and we can’t wait to welcome you back to your university, to put an exclamation point on your achievements.”

Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost, added that individual colleges and campuses will be hosting their own virtual celebrations for their graduates, in addition to the University-wide commencement.

“We have met with student leaders, and know this is important to all our students,” said Jones. “Our chancellors and deans are working on plans and will communicate directly with graduates. We have all hands on deck to do everything we can to properly recognize and celebrate the fantastic achievements of the Class of 2020. We couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments.”

For more information about the event, visit these frequently asked questions at Specific questions regarding the May 9 virtual ceremony may be emailed to [email protected].