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University of Rochester makes plans for online commencement

The University of Rochester, like a number of colleges and universities, had to put its in-person commencement activities on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But they will gather as a campus community virtually, on Sunday, May 15. University President Sarah Mangelsdorf has announced that members of the Class of 2020 will log into their computers from points all over the world for an online degree conferral event for all undergraduate and graduate students, including doctoral candidates.

“Our Rochester graduates deserve a Commencement ceremony surrounded by friends, classmates, and family, with the involvement of faculty, complete with the regalia, speeches, and other traditions we’ve all come to expect. I assure you we will hold an authentic University of Rochester commencement as soon as it is feasible to do so,” said Mangelsdorf.

University leaders say they understand that Rochester’s first virtual degree celebration is not a substitute for the real thing. “While we recognize no online activity or website could possibly replicate the majesty of Commencement, we will try to maintain some traditions, such as brief remarks from academic leaders and a listing of graduate names and honorees. I suspect many of our graduates will find their own innovative ways to mark this moment,” said Mangelsdorf.

Throughout the day, the online event will be supplemented with social media posts, linking graduates and families from all over the world through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.