Penn State campuses, colleges to virtually celebrate spring 2020 graduates

May 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will be holding its spring 2020 commencement ceremony via livestream at 2 p.m. EDT on May 9 to recognize all undergraduate students at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses, and all graduate students in the Graduate School, who are receiving their degrees from the University. The virtual ceremony will be viewable at https://spring2020.commencement.psu.edu/

“Commencement is our most joyous celebration each year, and although we can’t be together, we have planned a special ceremony, with some creative elements and good wishes from many familiar faces,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “We hope our graduates and their families will enjoy the virtual celebrations, which are just the first step in recognizing the Class of 2020. We look forward to seeing everyone for another celebration when it’s safe to return to our campuses.”

Degrees will be conferred for students at campuses across the commonwealth in the University’s virtual ceremony, and, in addition, individual campuses and colleges are offering additional programming for their own graduates. The ceremony was moved to a virtual format in response to the coronavirus pandemic, orders from the state government, and recommendations from global public health organizations. The University is committed to providing opportunities to invite the Class of 2020 back for in-person celebrations on campuses when public health guidelines allow. 

This spring Penn State expects to award approximately 15,019 diplomas to students University-wide who are completing 184 associate, 12,405 baccalaureate, 1,743 master's, 298 law, 223 doctoral, 137 medical and 29 medical/graduate degrees. All figures listed are estimates as of April 30; totals do not include Penn College.

Following the University’s livestreamed ceremony, graduates and their families are encouraged to access digital content for their respective campus or college, including viewing sharable digital slides for each graduate and videos featuring leaders at their specific campus or college. The individualized pages will be linked to from the official Spring 2020 Virtual Commencement page at https://spring2020.commencement.psu.edu.

Click on the links below to jump to individual campus and college information:

The College of Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center will be holding a separate spring commencement ceremony on May 17 for its graduates.

Penn State Commonwealth Campuses

PENN STATE ABINGTON

Penn State Abington will recognize the Class of 2020 with video messages from Chancellor Damian Fernandez, Valedictorian Michael Litz, and Abington faculty and staff sharing their memories and wishing the Class of 2020 well as they embark on the next phase of their bright futures as Penn State alumni. Students can use #psuabgrad, #Abington2020, and #ForeverANittanyLion in their social media posts.

PENN STATE ALTOONA

Penn State Altoona is recognizing the Class of 2020 with videos featuring remarks from Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry; a presentation by Associate Dean Peter Hopsicker and the heads of the college's four Academic Divisions; remarks from Alumni Society President Leila Farzam; messages from our four spring 2020 student marshals, remarks from student leader Katie Smeltzer; a message from alumna Linda Lockhart; a performance of the Penn State Alma Mater by graduating student Brandis Ajay; and a compilation of well-wishing messages from faculty and staff. Preceding the University’s virtual ceremony, students and faculty will have the opportunity to meet in dedicated Zoom rooms for their academic programs.

PENN STATE BEAVER

Penn State Beaver is recognizing the graduating Class of 2020 with a video featuring remarks from Chancellor Jenifer Cushman, our faculty marshals, Penn State Alumni Association Beaver Valley Chapter President Pradeep Karunanidhi, and Director of Academic Affairs Carey McDougall. Additionally, campus staff are sending personalized congratulations letters to each of the graduates. There also will be special recognition on our social media platforms, and the family and friends of the graduates will be invited to leave comments on Penn State Beaver’s Facebook page.

PENN STATE ERIE, THE BEHREND COLLEGE

Penn State Behrend will recognize the Class of 2020 with video messages from Chancellor Ralph Ford; Professor of Psychiatry Charisse Nixon, originally the spring 2020 commencement speaker; and from Behrend faculty and staff. Other videos will highlight students graduating with distinction and showcase student-submitted snapshots. Social media efforts to celebrate graduates are underway both from the college’s accounts and from individual schools and programs, including a cap-decorating contest. Departments also are encouraged to schedule Zoom celebrations with their programs’ graduates.

PENN STATE BERKS

Penn State Berks will recognize the Class of 2020 with video messages from Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk and the college’s two student marshals, Hunter M. Beane and Elizabeth C. Hunsicker. Then, beginning at 3:15 p.m., graduates will be able to join together with professors from their degree program in individual Zoom chat rooms. Penn State Berks invites graduates to celebrate their achievement by decorating caps and sending photos to heypsuberks@psu.edu for a Berks Instagram album. Graduates are also encouraged to share photos of in-home celebrations on social media using the hashtag #psuberks2020 and #PSUgrad.

PENN STATE BRANDYWINE

Penn State Brandywine is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells, messages from faculty and staff, messages from graduating seniors, acknowledgement of graduates who are veterans and who have earned academic honors, and a campus overview. Immediately prior to the University’s virtual ceremony, students and faculty will have the opportunity to meet in dedicated Zoom rooms grouped by major.  Graduates will also be celebrated through Penn State Brandywine’s social media channels.

PENN STATE DUBOIS

Penn State DuBois will recognize graduates of the class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor M. Scott McBride, the campus leadership team, program leaders, and faculty and staff.  Students with military and honors distinctions will also be recognized. Student athletes will be celebrated with special messages from coaches and athletic staff. Winners of baccalaureate and associate student marshal awards, the DuBois Education Foundation Educator of the Year, and the Penn State DuBois Staff Excellence Award winner will also be recognized.

PENN STATE FAYETTE

Penn State Fayette is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor Charles Patrick, Student Representative Taylor White, and Alumni Society Chapter President Angela Simmons. Additionally, students with honors and military distinctions will be honored in a video. Prior to the University’s virtual ceremony, Fayette students and faculty will have the opportunity to meet in a dedicated Zoom Celebration Room for their academic program. On social media, faculty and staff have submitted well-wishes for the graduates to be compiled in a video, and at-home celebrations will be amplified. In addition, graduating student-athletes have been featured in a video tribute and with a full story at psfathletics.com.

PENN STATE GREAT VALLEY

Penn State Great Valley is recognizing our summer 2019, fall 2019, and spring 2020 master’s degree candidates with video remarks from Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer James Nemes, our keynote speaker and Great Valley Advisory Board Member Karen Norheim, and Great Valley Alumni Society members. Students who have received academic awards and those with military service will also be recognized. In addition, members of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society will attend an induction ceremony with faculty in a dedicated Zoom session at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 8.

PENN STATE GREATER ALLEGHENY

Penn State Greater Allegheny will celebrate the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Jacqueline Edmondson, Faculty Marshal Anthony B. Mitchell, graduating senior Nico Blacutt, and Director of Alumni and Stewardship Laura King. Immediately following the University’s virtual ceremony, Edmondson will host a Zoom reception for the graduates and their families. Each graduate is receiving by mail a graduation celebration package sent on behalf of the campus community and prepared by the graduation committee. During finals week, the Class of 2020 is being recognized on social media and faculty and staff will share their well-wishes in a video.

PENN STATE HARRISBURG

Penn State Harrisburg is recognizing the 805 graduates in the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor John M. Mason Jr. and Student Government Association President Riley Cagle. Student marshals from the academic schools and Graduate Studies also will be highlighted in a video. Additionally, students with honors and military distinctions will be honored in a video. On the college’s homepage and social media platforms, graduates’ “Road to Commencement” stories will be highlighted, and the college will share at-home celebrations and well-wishes.

PENN STATE HAZLETON

Penn State Hazleton is recognizing the Class of 2020 and students who graduated in summer and fall 2019 with video remarks from Chancellor Gary Lawler, Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Wright, Director of Student Services and Engagement Tracy Garnick, and Student Government Association President Andrew Brink, who is also graduating. Additionally, students graduating with honors and military distinctions will be honored in a video. Following the University’s virtual ceremony, Hazleton students, faculty and staff will meet in a dedicated Zoom Celebration Room at 3 p.m. to recognize graduates and present awards; then break-out into rooms according to academic programs. On social media, students can share at-home celebrations using #PSUGrad and #PSUHazleton.

PENN STATE LEHIGH VALLEY

Penn State Lehigh Valley will celebrate its Class of 2020 with a Virtual Senior Celebration, including a digital program book featuring graduates’ photos, academic details and campus involvement, and recognition on Lehigh Valley’s social media channels. The students have the opportunity to share a short message about their college experience, give a shout-out to their classmates and professors, or share something about their future plans.

PENN STATE MONT ALTO

Penn State Mont Alto is celebrating the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor Francis K. Achampong, Chief Academic Officer Michael Doncheski, and commencement speaker Jim Ingram, 1979/1983 alumnus and president and COO of Bartlett Tree Experts. Students, faculty and staff have been invited to send social media shout-outs to graduates this week, and students have been asked to share pictures and short video clips with their family and friends of their at-home celebrations.

PENN STATE NEW KENSINGTON

Penn State New Kensington will recognize the Class of 2020 with video messages from Chancellor Kevin Snider, Director of Academic Affairs Andrea Adolph, Student Government Association President Gabrielle Kriley, and Alumni Society President John Spadaro. In addition, the campus will also release a special video montage of photos and quotes submitted by graduates, as well as campus faculty and staff. From 1 to 2 p.m., prior to the University virtual ceremony, graduates are invited to celebrate with each other, faculty and staff in dedicated Zoom breakout rooms by academic programs.

PENN STATE SCHUYLKILL

Penn State Schuylkill is celebrating its fall 2019 and spring 2020 graduates during a special Graduating Student Recognition virtual event at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8. The celebration will include remarks from Chancellor Patrick M. Jones, Director of Academic Affairs Darcy L. Medica, student speaker Anna Raquele Amato, Penn State Schuylkill Advisory Board President Richard J. Wiest, and Penn State Schuylkill Alumni Society President Carl J. Rosenberger. Then on May 9, prior to the University’s virtual ceremony, graduates and campus community members are invited to meet at 1 p.m. in dedicated Zoom rooms for their academic programs. In addition, all graduates were sent celebratory packages to aid their at-home celebrations. Further, faculty and staff have submitted well-wishes for the graduates that will be compiled into a video; graduating student-athletes were recognized; and graduate profile stories are being shared leading up to graduation.

PENN STATE SCRANTON

Penn State Scranton is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor Marwan A. Wafa, Penn State Scranton Alumni President David Lucas, who will also give the alumni charge to the graduates, and this year’s Chancellor’s Scholar Award recipient, Shanie Mohamed. We have also created a Virtual Yearbook with a combination of video and written messages that students will be able to access.

PENN STATE SHENANGO

At Penn State Shenango, the Class of 2020 will be honored with video remarks by Campus Director and Chief Academic Officer Jo Anne Carrick and student speaker Anthony Costa. After the May 9 University-wide commencement livestream, the Shenango campus is hosting a dedicated Zoom gathering for graduates and the campus community. In this virtual gathering, congratulatory messages will be shared by Carrick, the Shenango Valley Alumni Society, and faculty from each of the academic programs. Reflections written by our Class of 2020 can be viewed on our Celebrate our 2020 graduates gallery.

PENN STATE WILKES-BARRE

Penn State WiIkes-Barre has invited all fall 2019, spring 2020 and summer 2020 graduates to attend a special graduate celebration at 3:15 p.m. on May 9, to be held after the University’s virtual commencement ceremony. The celebration will include messages from the chancellor, the associate chief academic officer, the class valedictorian, the advisory board chair, and the president of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Alumni Society. In addition, the event will offer “After Parties,” which will provide graduates, their families, supporters, and friends the opportunity to celebrate with faculty from their major, Murphy Center staff, and their fellow graduates.

PENN STATE YORK

Penn State York is honoring the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Chancellor David Christiansen and Student Government Association President Kara James. In addition, three videos feature congratulatory messages from the faculty and staff, a few personal messages from graduates, and a photo montage of important locations on campus and events commemorating the 2019-20 academic year.

Penn State University Park

SCHREYER HONORS COLLEGE

The Schreyer Honors College will honor its graduating Scholars with a virtual Spring Medals Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 8. Approximately 480 Scholars will be recognized during the event, which will also include remarks from President Eric J. Barron, Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones, and Schreyer Honors College Dean Peggy A. Johnson. The ceremony may be viewed via the Schreyer Honors College website.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Dean Rick Roush; Tracy Hoover, associate dean for undergraduate education; and Gary Thompson, associate dean for research and graduate education. Students will receive a video welcome from the Ag Alumni Society, which is mailing senior gifts to students. The site also will feature a celebratory college highlights video that captures moments from throughout the year. On social media, the college will share congratulatory messages and elevate posts of student at-home celebrations, compiling from #PSUgrad, #AgStrong and @agsciences.

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE

The College of Arts and Architecture will host a livestreamed Graduation Celebration for both its undergraduate and graduate students at 3 p.m. on May 9, at sites.psu.edu/psuartsgrad, immediately following the University’s virtual ceremony. The event will highlight and honor the accomplishments of graduating students through videos, photographs and words of encouragement from college administrators. Graduating students are encouraged to post photos to social media using #psuartsgrad.

SMEAL COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

The Smeal College of Business will celebrate its Class of 2020 with video remarks from commencement speaker Brian Olsavsky, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Amazon, and Smeal Student Marshal Faith Hatchard. In addition, student marshals and senior award recipients will be recognized in a video, and graduating seniors were asked to share photos for a video montage. Graduates will be celebrated through a social media campaign welcoming them to the Smeal alumni family.  Smeal alumni were asked to post a photo of themselves holding congratulatory signs, and Smeal Board of Visitors members will share video messages with graduates that will be compiled into a congratulations e-card.

BELLISARIO COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATIONS

The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Dean Marie Hardin, Univision CEO and Penn State alumnus Vince Sadusky, and each of the college’s department heads. Following the University’s virtual ceremony, students and faculty can participate in a virtual reception on Twitter. Members of the senior class have been sharing memories and testimonials on Instagram and Twitter throughout the week with #PSUgrad, #WeAre, and #BellisarioProud. Activities for the following week on our social media will conclude with the playing of the alma mater by Bellisario College student and Penn State Blue Band trumpet player Christopher Bagley.

COLLEGE OF EARTH AND MINERAL SCIENCES

The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Lee Kump, the John Leone Dean; Yvette Richardson, associate dean for undergraduate education; Tim Charatan, student council president; and Erik Pytlak, president of the Graduate of Earth and Mineral Sciences alumni society. Additionally, the college student marshal and science honor marshal will be featured in a video. Our social media campaign features graduates and their plans for after graduation and we will share alumni messages of congratulations, well-wishes and advice for our graduates. We encourage graduates to share photos of their at-home celebrations, with #PSUgrad and #EMSgrads.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

The College of Education is recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Dean Kim Lawless; a video keynote commencement address from motivational speaker K.B. Strawder; video introductions of our college marshal and program marshals; a video Alma Mater tribute to our students by faculty, advisers and other members of the College of Education community; and a video slideshow featuring photos we've gathered of many of our graduating students and their classmates, along with scenes from around the University Park campus.

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

The College of Engineering and its academic departments will recognize the Class of 2020 in a variety of ways. Celebrations vary from department to department and will include at least one of the following activities: live online events; recorded messages from students, faculty, advisers, department heads, and the dean; a compilation of photos and memories; recognition of student marshals; and award presentations. Visit the college’s commencement website for more information about each department’s plans.

COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

The College of Health and Human Development is recognizing its Class of 2020 with video messages from Craig J. Newschaffer, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean; and Dennis Shea, associate dean for undergraduate education and outreach, who will introduce college marshals, students who earned distinction, Schreyer Honors Scholars, and ROTC honorees. The video also will introduce the college’s nine student marshals, and a message from April Judy, president of the Alumni Society. Faculty and staff also contributed video messages. Graduate students will receive a message from Kathryn Drager, associate dean for research and graduate studies. Students also are invited to share their commencement stories on social media.

COLLEGE OF INFORMATION SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY

The College of Information Sciences and Technology will be recognizing the Class of 2020 with video remarks from Dean Andrew Sears, faculty and staff, student marshals Genesis DuBon and Brett Sigoda, and Alumni Society Board President-elect Luke Simonetti. The college also celebrated its graduating class in late April with a virtual Senior Sendoff, an online version of the traditional event held each spring. In the event hosted by the IST Alumni Society, seniors enjoyed a photo contest, a virtual scavenger hunt, trivia, memory sharing, the Alma Mater, and well-wishes from IST Alumni Society Board members.

COLLEGE OF THE LIBERAL ARTS

The College of the Liberal Arts will recognize all Class of 2020 graduates with video messages from Dean Clarence Lang and student marshal Awaly Diallo, and has been honoring its 24 student marshals with feature articles and on social media. Individual departments within the college will also host virtual commencement receptions and share video messages with their graduates; links to these departmental messages and reception programs can be found at la.psu.edu/commencement.

COLLEGE OF NURSING

The Penn State College of Nursing is recognizing the graduating Class of 2020 with a live-streamed virtual celebration at 4 p.m. on May 9. Dean Laurie Badzek and student nursing association presidents Connor Forjan and Rachel Runatz will offer remarks and a reading. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Rae Brown will share the significance of the nursing pin, and Associate Dean for Graduate Education Lisa Kitko will share the significance of graduate student hooding. Schreyer Honors Scholars, students with military distinction, and student award winners will all be featured. The celebration will wrap up with a video of our students singing the Alma Mater, and the event will be shared to the college’s Facebook page.

EBERLY COLLEGE OF SCIENCE

Graduates of the Eberly College of Science will be recognized in four separate videos as well as on a special commencement page on the college website and on YouTube. The videos include congratulations from Doug Cavener, Verne M. Willaman Dean; four associate deans; and Eberly department heads. There will be a separate video to recognize the college’s co-marshals and the department marshals. Part of the Eberly College commencement page will include congratulatory notes to the Class of 2020 from faculty and staff.

PENN STATE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE (Hershey)

Penn State College of Medicine, at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, will celebrate its M.D., physician assistant, master’s and doctoral graduates with a virtual ceremony at 1 p.m. on May 17.  Penn State President Eric Barron, Keynote Speaker Dr. Valerie Williams and Interim Dean Dr. Kevin Black will share words of wisdom with the graduates, as will each class' student speaker. Family, friends and the community are being invited to share online well-wishes on the virtual commencement site as well.

PENN STATE WORLD CAMPUS

Penn State World Campus is celebrating spring 2020 graduates who earned their degrees online with a video featuring congratulations from Renata Engel, vice provost for Online Education. Advisers and other student-facing teams also recorded individual videos of encouragement, compiled into an additional celebratory video message. Our social media team will honor graduates and has created additional content related to graduation and commencement, such as requests for photos and congratulatory comments and well-wishes from followers. In addition to viewing the University’s virtual ceremony, World Campus graduates are encouraged to participate in the celebrations hosted by the academic home awarding their degree.

Last Updated May 12, 2020