The University of Maryland announced Monday that spring commencement will be held virtually due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In an email to the community, UMD President Wallace Loh detailed steps to provide the class of 2020 with recognition for their graduation.
The university will be holding virtual commencement on May 22. The ceremony will include remarks from U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., District 5), an alumni and the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
Loh will also be granting honorary doctorate degrees to the first African-American male undergraduate student and to the first African-American female student admitted to the university.
The ceremony will include photos, videos and messages submitted by graduates to social media using the hashtag #UMDgrad. Care packages, including the commencement program, a cap and tassel, will all be mailed to students homes.
#UMD announces a 3-part commencement plan to celebrate 2020 spring graduates – a virtual ceremony on 5/22, free tickets to spring grads for the 9/12/20 football game, and inviting grads to the Dec. 2020 commencement. Read more here: https://t.co/SMN5HNVJ6I
— UMD Right Now (@UMDRightNow) April 20, 2020
Students who are interested will also be given the opportunity to walk during the winter 2020 commencement ceremony. The ceremony will be held Dec. 20, 2021.
Finally, students graduating will also be given free tickets to the Sept. 12 football game in the fall semester, so long as the university is able to hold large gatherings.
“I am saddened that this pandemic has upended the normal rhythms of university life and its cherished traditions. So I want to say again, I’m so sorry for these disruptions in your lives,” Loh wrote in the letter. “While this semester has not turned out how any of us expected, we are still making plans to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the Spring Class of 2020. It is important to do so, because commencement is an important rite of passage. It marks the end of an academic journey and the start of a new chapter in one’s life journey.”