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How to Host a Virtual Graduation Celebration

You can celebrate 2020 Commencement when you want, how you want. You can have a big to-do with friends and family, or a proud party of one. You can dress up, dress down, make some noise, or just revel quietly in your own accomplishments. Below are some suggestions to make your celebration special, but feel free to get creative!

Before Your Celebration

  • Decide what kind of celebration is right for you. Do you want to orchestrate a fun faux-Commencement, complete with regalia, handshakes, and all? Would you like to have loved ones cheer when your name is called? Or would you rather defer your celebrations to a later date when you can walk in a Commencement ceremony? Once you decide how you’d like to mark this special occasion, make sure you let your family and friends know how you’d like to celebrate.

  • Pick a time after July 17 at Noon (launch time) and place to celebrate.

  • If you’re celebrating safely in person, let loved ones know the time and place you’d like to hold your Commencement. For a truly virtual Commencement, plan to host a watch party via Skype or Zoom and share a link with anyone you’d like to attend. You can also do both, celebrating in-person with those who can safely do so, and hosting a watch party so others can safely call in.

  • Regalia is not required for Virtual Commencement. However, if it would enhance the experience for you, you can purchase regalia and keepsakes from our bookstore prior to your chosen Commencement celebration date. Some people might even want to DIY their own mortarboards. If you don’t wish to wear regalia, you can mark the occasion by dressing up, or dressing in a way that showcases who you are.

  • Plan and prepare anything else you’d like for your Commencement. You may want to decorate your celebration space, prepare a celebratory meal, or hold a photoshoot of your experience. Though this definitely isn’t a traditional graduation, now is your chance to make new traditions, so be as creative as you’d like!

  • If you’d like to duplicate the feel of in-person Commencement, choose someone to hand you your diploma, shake hands (safely), and bestow your hood if applicable. A proud parent, guardian, or mentor might be the perfect person to do this.

  • Download a Zoom background to use if you’re hosting a virtual watch party.

During Your Celebration

  • Wear your regalia, any other graduation gear, or your outfit of choice.

  • If you’re hosting a virtual watch party, start the watch party and give your guests a few minutes to get settled in. Once everyone is in attendance, share your screen and hit play on the virtual Commencement ceremony.

  • Stand up when the dean presents your class for conferral.

  • Listen for your name to be read aloud and:

  • If you’d like, have someone hand your diploma to you when your name is read. This is a great photo-opp!

  • If applicable, have someone bestow your hood by placing it over your head when your name is read.

  • Shake hands with your family and friends, or just clap and cheer! This is your moment, so celebrate however you’d like.

  • Someone could hand you your diploma, pretend to shake hands, or just clap and cheer— this is your moment, choose how to celebrate it

  • If you have a mortarboard, perform the ceremonial tassel turn when President David Finegold gives the cue.

  • Make a toast, give a cheer, and throw that hat as high as you can—you’ve officially graduated!

After Your Celebration

Share your photos on social media, tag @ChathamU, and use #chathamu2020