USC to Hold First-Ever Virtual Commencement Ceremony

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Adapting to the social distancing guidelines prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, more than 21,000 USC undergraduate and graduate students will have their degrees conferred today during the university's first-ever virtual commencement ceremony.

USC President Carol L. Folt and Provost Charles F. Zukoski will preside over the online festivities.

“Under normal circumstances, we would be celebrating your accomplishments this May under blue skies and with your friends, loved ones and the faculty and staff who have been with you along the way,” Folt wrote in an April 27 letter to students. “We are so sorry that the joyful in-person celebration that we all love has had to be delayed. The pandemic that has swept across our world has disrupted everyone's lives beyond what we could have anticipated. Yet, you have responded with remarkable grit, optimism and determination, adapting to this new world immediately. Your courage and perseverance are marks of true character that inspire us all.”

The class of 2020, their families and loved ones will be able to celebrate their milestones from the comfort of home beginning at 9 a.m., when Folt and Zukoski will confer degrees. Following the ceremony, each school will host its own virtual celebration for its graduating class.

For the remainder of the day, graduates and their families will be able to reflect on their accomplishments by visiting the USC website, which will be turned into an interactive hub.

Family, deans, faculty, staff and alumni will be sharing highlights -- including photographs, videos, social media streams and written messages -- via the USC website to honor the class of 2020. Several artistic performances will also be presented throughout the day.

The livestream will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the ceremony commencing at 9 a.m. and re-broadcasts scheduled for noon and 6 p.m. Mandarin translation will be available for the 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts, according to USC.

“We hope to bring you that personal feeling in a meaningful, fun and interactive celebration of your extraordinary accomplishments,” Folt wrote in her letter.

Although a date for an in-person commencement ceremony has not been announced, Folt has assured graduates and their families that the Commencement Committee is actively preparing for one.

“You have achieved so much under extraordinary circumstances, and I could not be prouder of each and every one of you,” Folt wrote.

Photo: Getty Images

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