Graduates Celebrate Virtually

Not having a Big House celebration did not dampen the graduates’ spirits.
Read time: 3 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic may have dashed the expectations of thousands of U-M seniors who looked forward to Spring Commencement, but it did not dampen the Wolverine spirit.  The annual gathering of peers and families at the Big House, as well as smaller ceremonies across campus, could not take place due to the virus. However, U-M faculty, staff, and alumni still managed to celebrate with the graduates from afar.

Virtual Commencement Speakers

The University community instead came together virtually on May 2 via Spring Celebration 2020, an online event that served as a pep rally for the new graduates. Highlights on the celebratory website include U-M President Mark Schlissel and the deans of every school and college congratulating the graduates while virtually passing a diploma. Another video showcases the Michigan Marching Band playing “The Victors” on Zoom. The previously selected commencement speakers — former Vice President Al Gore and acclaimed playwright Dominique Morisseau, ’00 — also recorded short send-off messages. (Gore was scheduled to speak at the Big House and Morisseau at the Rackham graduate exercises.) Check out these videos and many more commemorating the class of 2020 on the website.

Virtual Commencement BagelyThe Alumni Association’s Welcome Wednesdays mascot, Bagely, also delivered a special message for the class of 2020, “Welcome to the Gen Blue family!” Bagely appears at the weekly free bagel-and-coffee gatherings the Alumni Association hosts each Wednesday during the academic year.

In addition, a number of new alumni sent in pictures of their graduation celebrations to Michigan Alumnus.

Bridget Jean, ’20, and her parents — Donald and Murside Jean, both ’87, MBA’90 — attempted to make her graduation day feel more official by presenting her with her father’s diploma in front of the Hatcher Graduate Library.

Ira Baer, '87

Sophie Lovell, ’20, (top row, middle) celebrated with friends and fellow alumnae in Ann Arbor.

Sophie Lovell, ’20

Ira Baer, ’87, held a stay-at-home graduation celebration for his daughter, Jamie, ’20, in Florida. She is the 14th member of his family to graduate from U-M.

Bridget Jean, '20

Good luck graduates and Go Blue!

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