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A Year Like No Other: Remembering 2019-2020 in Photos

A Year Like No Other: Remembering 2019-2020 in Photos

Whether on campus or on Zoom, the memories of this year will last forever. As we reflect on the unconventional end to the spring semester, we commemorate the moments we shared and experienced.

Move-In Day and Class of 2023 Kick-Off

In August, new Sooners were welcomed to the OU family as they embarked on their next chapter.

Move In Day Harroz and Students hold signs
Students in stands at class of 2023 welcome event

Civil Rights Week

During Civil Rights Week in September, the university paid tribute to some of its own civil rights heroes – Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher and George Henderson – while also acknowledging the ongoing pursuit of equality.

Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Dedication Event
Speakers at Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Dedication Event
George Henderson at Collection Reception

Fall Traditions

Together, we celebrated the hallmarks of autumntime in Oklahoma – Homecoming, the Ring Ceremony, Indigenous Peoples Day, and of course, game day.

Ruf Neks at Homecoming Parade
Homecoming Royalty in sashes at football game
Students pose for photos wearing class rings
Indigenous Peoples Day parade featuring Mr. and Ms. Indian OU
Dancer at Indigenous Peoples Day
Band at OU WV game
Players on football field #s 9, 1, 90 and 56
Ruf Nek hyping crowd at a night game

New Endeavors

Our spirit of discovery and excellence were on full display we as dedicated the Center for Quantum Research and Technology; Gallogly Hall, home of the Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering; and a monument honoring the centennial of the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering.

Center for quantum physics dedication
Gallogly Hall ribbon cutting ceremony
Mewbone Centennial ribbon cutting ceremony

‘Tis the Season

The sparkle of the holiday season permeated campus, and 2019 was capped off by our fifth straight Big 12 Championship title.

night shot of Boyd House decoared with lights and garland
Young girl sits on Santa's lap
Celebration at Big 12 Championship game

Celebrating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week included the Martin Luther King Jr. March and the dedication of both the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Gender + Equality Center.

MLK march 2020
group posed photo at Office of Divesity and Inclusion dedication event
Group photo Gender and Equality Center ribbon cutting


Student packs a snowball in gloved hands outside near dorms
One student pushes another through the snow on a makeshift, cadboard sled


When the OU family stands together, miracles happen. Over $1 million was raised for Children’s Hospital Foundation at this year’s Soonerthon.

Numbers held up with Soonerthon total 1,033,102.20 while confetti falls

A New Normal

After spring break, campus was quiet. OU moved into uncharted territory and joined countless other universities in moving classes online and operating most services remotely.

Empty sidewalk near Gaylord Hall: AP News ticker reads "COVID-19 Cases Spread"

Live On, 2020

Through all of the uncertainty and challenges of COVID-19, the OU spirit shined through in abundance. While most of the OU community spent their final weeks of the semester away from campus, our essential staff have been the backbone of our on-campus operations.

The unusual end of the spring semester was especially bittersweet for the Class of 2020. Plans were set in motion to hold the university’s first-ever virtual Commencement ceremony.

In the weeks leading up to graduation, socially distanced photo sessions were spotted on campus.

Student in fullr regalia poses for graduation photo on Commencement Day
Student, wearing graduation gown, poses for photo near the stadium on Commencement Day

On Friday, May 8 – a day where campus would normally be buzzing with excitement – acclamation for the Class of 2020 was far from lost. A group of faculty members chalked Brooks Mall with the names of each graduate, and a stadium slideshow played throughout the day.

Faculty Members chalking names on Brooks Mall sidewalk
Virtual Commencement Slideshow plays on the stadium screens

At 7 p.m., Sooners worldwide gathered online to celebrate the Class of 2020. To date, the virtual Commencement ceremony has received over 23,000 views. Students provided some of the video content for the virtual celebration, including a year-in-review video produced by students in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

During his remarks in the virtual Commencement ceremony, President Harroz noted: “Class of 2020, in the years since you began your OU journey, you have transformed yourselves, each other, and this unique moment in our university’s history. Tonight, one chapter may be ending, and you move forward no longer as students, but as alumni with tremendous responsibility and boundless opportunities. Take pride in yourself and in your experiences that have prepared you to carry on this tradition. Your class will forever be an example of strength. Congratulations, Class of 2020 – you make us proud!”

…something to which we can all agree.

Article Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2020