Virtual Convocation to honor Class of 2020 this weekend

University-wide and Class Day ceremonies highlight three days of online events

The University of Chicago community and its graduating students will gather this weekend for its first virtual Convocation.

Although the Class of 2020 cannot be together on campus, its collective academic accomplishments will be recognized through a series of online ceremonies for the graduate divisions and schools and the undergraduate College. The ceremonies were filmed on campus in May, while observing health and safety guidelines.

“In these difficult times, when so many members of our community are concerned and reflecting on recent events in our nation, we hope that Convocation can be an occasion on which we come together in solidarity to celebrate our graduating students,” said Provost Ka Yee C. Lee. “The Class of 2020 represents just the kind of bright, brave minds we need to address the challenges of our world and build a more just future, and we congratulate them on their academic achievements.”

The University-wide ceremony, the traditional “calling together” of the UChicago community, will be webcast on the Convocation website beginning at 9:15 a.m. CDT Saturday. President Robert J. Zimmer will verbally confer a total of 5,505 degrees to candidates and provide remarks, along with Lee. There will not be a faculty speaker this year.

The Class Day ceremony, which honors graduates of the College, will be webcast here beginning at 2 p.m. CDT Friday. The event will feature remarks from renowned cancer researcher Otis W. Brawley, SB’81, MD’85, this year’s invited speaker. Fourth-year students Greer Baxter, Annie Geng and Emily Stevens also will present speeches to their classmates.

“We are sharing a culmination of years together and a hard-earned diploma. But this year we are also sharing in history: Coming together for a virtual graduation during a pandemic,” Baxter said. “Even though we can’t turn to each other with smiles or hug each other in celebration, I hope we can somehow feel each other’s presence.”

Ceremonies in the divisions and schools will be webcast Friday and Saturday; the College’s diploma ceremonies will be webcast on Sunday. Check the Convocation website for a detailed schedule of virtual ceremonies.

Graduates in the Class of 2020 have been invited to return to campus in June 2021 for a special acknowledgement and celebration of their accomplishments in the presence of their families and the broader UChicago community. They are invited to share their photos, memories and congratulatory messages on social media using #uchicago2020.