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WVU to hold online commencement ceremonies Saturday

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While West Virginia University’s 4,500-member Class of 2020 will graduate in various states and countries instead of Morgantown and in one ceremony instead of more than a dozen, graduates will be connected to each other and to Mountaineers around the world in WVU’s first virtual commencement ceremony.

Mountaineer Graduation Day, created as an online event because of the University’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be available on the internet beginning at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday (May 16) by going to No login or password is required and there is no limit on viewers.

“This year’s May commencement ceremony will be like none other in the history of our institution and in the lives of our graduates,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said. “Our May 2020 graduates are living through the most unpredictable period of their lives, but the COVID-19 pandemic will not define them. They have persevered through years of higher education and are embarking on a world different from when they started, and our graduates will use what they’ve learned to navigate the uncharted waters of the future.”

The approximately 30-minute program will feature many of the standard traditional commencement elements, some speeches, and of course some words of parting wisdom from President Gordon Gee. Country music star and West Virginia native Brad Paisley will be awarded a Presidential honorary degree.

Other speakers will include Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences Clay Marsh and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Meshea Poore.

No WVU commencement would be complete without singing “Country Roads,” the song that bridges any distance for Mountaineers, and this year will be no exception.

But there will also be special elements, some of which have been available already and others beginning today (May 11).

Leading up to commencement, May 2020 graduates have been sharing memories through short videos and photos on social media using #WVUgrad and everyone who loves WVU can share their pride using a graphic “Always a Mountaineer.” During the broadcast, students can continue to engage via WVU’s various social media platforms using the hashtag and by following @WestVirginiaU on Twitter and Instagram and WVU Mountaineers on Facebook.

Today, WVU launched a special augmented reality filter on Instagram, which will outfit graduates in a mortarboard to receive their diplomas and sing along with “Country Roads.” Other templates in the University’s Instagram story will give students an opportunity to share their memories and show how much they’ve changed from their freshman to senior year with a “Then and Now” feature.

Shortly after it concludes, the event will be available on the WestVirginiaU YouTube Channel and added to the Commencement archive.

“While we cannot be together for a formal ceremony,” Reed said, “we will celebrate in true Mountaineer fashion – brimming with pride, offering advice and reminding them that WVU will always be home.”

May graduates are invited back to Morgantown for a special ceremony Dec. 19 to celebrate their accomplishments in person at the WVU Coliseum.



CONTACT: Lisa Martin
Special Events Coordinator Senior
University Events

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