Florida A&M University (FAMU) will hold its first ever virtual commencement 10 a.m. May 9 as the University continues to adhere to social distancing guidelines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 1,000 students have applied for Spring 2020 graduation. The deadline to apply for graduation is April 24.
FAMU will conduct a virtual, closed caption commencement celebration using a video production company. The event will be broadcast on YouTube. A traditional in-person ceremony will be held at an as yet undetermined later date.
“This virtual ceremony will allow us to celebrate our graduates using a safe and modified version of the traditional graduation ceremony,” said Genyne H. Boston, Ph.D., associate provost and chair of the Commencement Planning Committee. “We are strongly encouraging our graduates to exercise social distancing and other safety protocols, which this virtual ceremony allows.”
Graduates will receive an email from the vendor on how to submit their headshot and information. During the ceremony, each graduate’s name will be called, and the photo/information submitted will be displayed.
The virtual ceremony will also include an opening featuring an introductory video, including footage from past commencements, followed by other program elements such as the commencement speech, the graduate roll call procession, and, lastly, the closing with inspirational remarks by President Larry Robinson, Ph.D.
“We know how important this celebratory event is in the life of our community,” Robinson said. “I urge students to send in their photographs and comments so that this first-ever virtual commencement will be memorable to the graduates and their families.”
The ceremony will be professionally edited with cross fades to ensure a seamless transition between the various elements of the ceremony.
“The main challenge is trying to recreate a once in a lifetime moment for our graduates in order to celebrate and acknowledge this milestone,” said Boston, who is also the chief of staff Division of Academic Affairs.
To make this graduation style feel personal, the University has incorporated a Graduation Countdown campaign (#FAMUgrad20) via social media in order to allow students to post their own special moments such as videos and photos from April 25 to May 8.
“Graduates will have the opportunity to share photos, special gratitude messages and memories about their college experience prior to the virtual ceremony,” Boston said.