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Penn State Announces 2020 Virtual Commencement Speakers

Believe it or not, graduation is just a day away. And although Penn State’s commencement ceremonies will take place virtually this time around, each academic college will still hear from guest speakers and presenters as seniors wrap up their college careers.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each college’s commencement plans and speakers.

Schreyer Honors College

Schreyer will honor its seniors with a virtual spring medals ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 8. Nearly 500 scholars will be recognized and hear from President Eric Barron, Provost Nicholas Jones, and dean Peggy Johnson. You can tune into the ceremony here.

College of Agricultural Sciences

Dean Rick Roush, associate dean for undergraduate education Tracy Hoover, and associate dean for research and graduate education Gary Thompson will speak to the college’s seniors. The Ag Alumni Society will also premier a video welcoming them to the ceremony. Additionally, the college plans to actively share posts featuring #PSUgrad and #AgStrong on social media.

College of Arts and Architecture

The college will host its commencement immediately following the university-wide ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 9. The event will highlight the Class of 2020 through videos, photographs, and speeches from college administrators. The link to the ceremony can be found here.

Smeal College of Business

Smeal’s graduating seniors will be treated to commencement speeches from Brian Olsavsky, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Amazon, as well as student marshal Faith Hatchard. Smeal alumni and board members have also created messages and taken photographs that will be compiled into an e-card that will be sent to every graduate.

Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications

Virtual remarks will be given to the graduating class by dean Marie Hardin, Univision CEO (and Penn State alum) Vince Sadusky, and other department leaders. The reception will take place on Twitter throughout the week. When the week ends, Bellisario student and Blue Band member Christopher Bagley will play the alma mater on his trumpet.

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

The college will have four speakers give virtual remarks to the class of 2020, including dean Lee Krump, associate dean for undergraduate education Yvette Richardson, student council president Tim Charatan, and president of the Graduate of Earth and Mineral Sciences alumni society Erik Pytlak. On social media, the college plans to showcase graduating seniors and their future plans.

College of Education

Dean Kimberly Lawless and motivational speaker K.B. Strawder will speak at the college’s commencement ceremony. There will also be an alma mater tribute created by faculty, advisors, and other members of the College of Education community. Additionally, a slideshow will present photographs and memories from the academic year.

College of Engineering

Every department throughout the college will have different events, but they will include at least one of the following: live online events, recorded messages from a variety of people throughout the college, photo compilations, and award presentations. You can find more info about each department’s plans here.

College of Health and Human Development

The college’s virtual ceremony will include video messages from dean Craig Newschaffer, associate dean Dennis Shea, and Alumni Society President April Judy. Faculty and staff have also recorded video messages to share with the graduating class.

College of Information Sciences and Technology

The Class of 2020 will receive 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 seniors had already participated in a virtual senior sendoff in April, which included trivia and memory-sharing, among other things.

College of Liberal Arts

The college will hold a reception where dean Clarence Lang and student marshal Awaly Diallo will give virtual remarks. Each department within the college will also have separate, more intimate receptions. Links to video messages can be found here.

College of Nursing

The college’s ceremony will be live-streamed on the college’s Facebook page at 4 p.m. on May 9. There will be multiple speakers at the ceremony, including dean Laurie Badzek and student nursing association presidents Connor Forjan and Rachel Runatz. Honors college scholars, military distinctions, and student award winners will be recognized.

Eberly College of Science

There will be four separate videos that recognize the Class of 2020 and a separate commencement on the college’s website. The videos include remarks from dean Doug Cavener, the four associate deans, and the Eberly department heads. There will also be congratulatory notes from faculty and staff on the commencement page.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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