Emory University to Celebrate Class of 2020 with Digital Commencement Experience

Emory University to Celebrate Class of 2020 with Digital Commencement Experience


ATLANTA (April 27, 2020) –  Emory University’s 175th Commencement ceremonies will take place on Monday, May 11, in an online format that blends some of the university’s traditions with digital experiences designed to celebrate graduates, including customized video content that tells the story of the Class of 2020 through the voices and personal reflections of students and faculty members. In partnership with the Atlanta-based global creative studio Ideas United, Emory designed a series of creative, accessible experiences for graduates, their families, and the entire Emory community. 

In late March, Emory’s Commencement Committee Task Force led a brainstorm with Ideas United to help design commencement experiences in lieu of traditional commencement activities. The result led to the creation of the Y/our Moment concept, which will feature online event coverage, including opening remarks and the official conferral of degrees by President Claire E. Sterk, presentation of select university honors and awards, and a special interactive keynote address by acclaimed social justice advocate and honorary degree recipient Bryan Stevenson, who — in a Commencement first — will also use his time to personally respond to student questions.

“We never could have imagined how COVID-19 would affect our lives in such drastic ways,” said David Roemer, co-founder and CEO, Ideas United. “For the Emory students missing the opportunity to participate in traditional commencement celebrations, we knew we had to do something and fortunately have the capabilities to help provide an unforgettable solution for these graduates and their families. As Emory alumni, and storytellers, we’re honored to partner with such passionate Emory leaders and share our expertise to make this the most memorable Commencement ceremony possible.

Beginning Monday, May 4, this new digital hub will also provide special Class of 2020 video content, messages and interactive activities designed to allow students, family, faculty and alumni to share congratulatory notes, memories, photos and video clips. 

Leading up to May 11, students will also be able to watch video coverage of special award presentations and other student-generated content, including Baccalaureate reflections and performances. On Thursday, May 7, as part of a longstanding undergraduate tradition, the site will feature a special online presentation by Comedy Central comedian and actor Ronny Chieng, the scheduled keynote speaker for Class Day. The presentation will include a recorded Zoom conversation that features Chieng answering student questions. 

In response to student requests for an on-campus celebration, planning actively continues for a future in-person event — on a date still to be determined — that will invite graduates back to commemorate their achievements along with family, friends, and the Emory community. 

For additional information, visit news.emory.edu.