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OU to Celebrate the Class of 2020 in First-Ever Virtual Commencement Ceremony

OU to Celebrate the Class of 2020 in First-Ever Virtual Commencement Ceremony

May 01, 2020

For the first time in its 130-year history, the University of Oklahoma will hold a virtual Commencement ceremony to celebrate its graduating class. The occasion marks the end of a unique academic experience for the Class of 2020.

Graduates and their families, friends and Sooners worldwide are invited to gather online for OU’s first-ever virtual Commencement ceremony, which will be held starting at 7 p.m. CDT Friday, May 8, at Additionally, Cox Communications will air the virtual ceremony on May 8 from 7 to 8 p.m. on Cox’s YurView Channel 3 in both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas.

“We are so proud of the members of the Class of 2020, who have remained steadfast during this time of uncertainty, representing the best of the Sooner spirit,” said OU Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. “While the format for this year’s Commencement is different, our enthusiasm for celebrating our students has never waned, and the number participating in the ceremony reflects their resolve and love of our university. We are inspired by this class of graduates who will forever be an example of strength within the OU family.”

More than 3,500 graduation candidates have registered to participate in the virtual Commencement ceremony – a number comparable to OU’s standard in-person spring Commencement ceremonies of years past.

The virtual ceremony will integrate traditional ceremonial components, such as the singing of the national anthem and the OU Chant, comments from student representatives from each college, formal remarks by Harroz, a year-in-review video produced by students in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the official conferring of degrees.

During Commencement, OU expects to confer degrees to more than 9,800 students who completed their coursework during the spring 2020 semester, as well as summer and December 2019 graduates. This year, OU will award approximately 5,927 bachelor’s degrees, 2,531 master’s degrees, 374 doctoral degrees, 675 professional degrees and 316 college-level certificates.

Despite the online format, the university has worked to create a more personalized graduation experience, incorporating several interactive, celebratory elements in this year’s festivities. In partnership with Candid Color Photography, graduates participating in the virtual ceremony were given the opportunity to create an individual recognition slide, which will include their name, college, degree, major, photo and an audio announcement. Following the ceremony, graduates can download their slides and share them with others or on social media. In addition, graduates will receive celebration boxes, which contain items to help them make the most of their personal celebration during the Commencement ceremony.

Also as part of the virtual experience, each dean recorded a special video message for the graduates of their college, which will be available at

As is the custom for OU’s Commencement, the virtual ceremony will conclude with the singing of the OU Chant and Oklahoma! together as the OU family. Leading this tradition will be students who submitted videos of themselves singing these classic spirit songs.

A cap decorating contest will start Monday on OU’s Instagram page (@uofoklahoma). All cap submissions will be compiled into a video, with contest winners being announced following the virtual ceremony.

All May 2020 graduation candidates also may attend the university’s rescheduled spring 2020 graduation ceremonies, set for Aug. 8 and 9 in the Lloyd Noble Center on the Norman campus.

For the latest information on OU’s Commencement, visit or email the Graduation Office at


About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit