May commencement ceremonies to move online; senior celebration in Lane Stadium planned for September
March 19, 2020
Editor's note: The time of the ceremony has been updated to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 15.
Amid a worldwide effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Virginia Tech will move its commencement activities online this spring and invite all graduating students and two guests to campus this fall to celebrate commencement with a senior tailgate, an “Enter Sandman” entrance into Lane Stadium, and complimentary attendance at the Sept. 26 home football game.
The university-wide ceremony will be held online at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 15. It will include welcoming comments, speeches, announcements of awards and honors, and, most importantly, the conferring of degrees to the newest Hokie alumni. In addition, all of the university’s colleges and departments are committed to exploring creative online and virtual opportunities to recognize their graduates in May.
Virginia Tech President Tim Sands acknowledged the mixed emotions he has heard from graduating seniors as the spring semester has been upended — but knowing that graduates and families need time to plan for commencement activities, and knowing the fluidity of the ongoing pandemic and the responsive measures that the nation is taking, Sands and other university leaders set in motion a plan for a truly memorable celebration in September.
“For many of our students, commencement is arguably their greatest achievement at this point in their lives, and we will recognize and celebrate it,” Sands said. “I understand and share their disappointment regarding these unavoidable disruptions. We are experiencing an historic, unprecedented event that requires extraordinary actions. We will do what we must to stop the spread of the virus and protect our community, while honoring our graduates in the most meaningful way we can.”
For the commencement events on the weekend of Sept. 26, Virginia Tech will invite the May 2020 graduating seniors, graduate students, and professional students — and two guests per student — to a special tailgate for graduates before the Saturday game versus the University of North Alabama. As part of the weekend, the graduates will also get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run through the tunnel in cap and gown as a group, entering the football field to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Their entrance will be livestreamed for family and friends around the world. Graduates and their guests will enjoy the game in Lane Stadium.
“Our graduates will have their moment at Lane Stadium — and it will be in true Hokie fashion,” Sands said. “We knew we needed to make this happen for them, especially for seniors. We know that the spring semester is coming to an unexpected ending, but we’re confident that we’ve planned a memorable celebration for them.”
In addition, all spring 2020 graduates will be invited to participate in formal commencement ceremonies in December 2020 or May 2021.
For the latest information on the university’s response to the coronavirus, visit Virginia Tech’s COVID-19 website. Visit the university’s commencement website for detailed information on commencement-related activities.