University of Minnesota hosts virtual commencement for Class of 2020

The University of Minnesota will host a systemwide virtual commencement to celebrate graduates on May 16. This year’s celebration features recorded remarks by Board of Regents Chair Ken Powell and President Joan Gabel, and includes a personalized slide for each graduate.

President Gabel spoke with FOX 9 Saturday morning ahead of the event.

Students from all five campuses were given the option to participate. Other speakers include Director of the University’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Michael Osterholm and Professor Emeritus John S. Wright.

The virtual commencement, which is not a live event, will be accessible online until June 30.

According to the university, "in the spirit of traditional commencement, graduation candidates were sent a tassel and diploma cover as they would normally receive during an in-person celebration. Graduates had the option to include their photo on a personalized slide that notes their major and degree."

In another effort to honor the graduates, the 35W bridge will be lighting up in maroon and gold over the weekend.

The University will be making decisions later this summer about the possibilities for in-person commencements on its campuses this fall. Any decisions will follow guidance from Governor Tim Walz, federal and state public health agencies, and the University’s own medical and public health experts.