Virtual Commencement ceremony will not feature external keynote speaker

The Class of 2020’s virtual Commencement ceremony will not include an external keynote speaker, officials said.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the upcoming virtual celebration does not “take the place” of the Commencement ceremony that usually occurs on the National Mall, and the Class of 2021’s graduation ceremonies – which the Class of 2020 is invited to attend – will include all “traditional elements” of the ceremony, including a keynote speaker.

“We know how much this historic ceremony means to our community which is why the Class of 2020 is invited to celebrate in person during Commencement on the Mall in May 2021,” Nosal said in an email.

Officials announced last week that GW will host a virtual Commencement ceremony May 17 on the GW’s Facebook page to celebrate the Class of 2020.

Administrators canceled in-person Commencement in March for the Class of 2020 amid concerns over COVID-19. The announcement to hold a joint Commencement celebration came after more than 6,500 people signed a petition calling on officials to reschedule the Class of 2020’s graduation ceremonies.

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