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How To Watch Penn State’s Virtual Fall 2020 Commencement

Whether you like it or not, seniors, it’s that time of year again.

With the end of the semester comes fall commencement, where more than 5,000 seniors will face the dreaded G-word (read: graduation). Although graduates and their families can’t celebrate together in person just yet, Penn State will host a virtual ceremony to recognize their accomplishments.

Before Saturday’s festivities get underway, read up on everything you’ll need to know.


Penn State’s virtual fall commencement will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 19. The ceremony will feature both undergraduate and graduate students from all Penn State campuses across the commonwealth.

The university will broadcast the festivities through a virtual livestream available to all. If you’re unable to tune in or technical difficulties get the best of you, the ceremony will be recorded and available for viewing after it wraps up.

The virtual commencement service will include formal remarks from administrators, degree conferral, and an introduction into the Penn State Alumni Association. Later on, graduates, friends, and families can explore “additional digital content” tailored for each campus and community, even including individual recognition for students through digital slides.

Penn State alumna Wanda Bryant Hope will serve as the university’s fall 2020 commencement speaker. Hope currently works as Johnson & Johnson’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and graduated from the Smeal College of Business with a marketing degree.

Hope also serves as a member of the Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety, which launched in July.

“Wanda’s long association with and passionate work on behalf of Penn State clearly reflects her pride in her alma mater, and it is my pleasure and privilege to welcome her as our fall commencement speaker,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “As an internationally known business leader and a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion, she will share her knowledge and insights with the class of 2020 as we celebrate the hard-earned achievements of our newest graduates.” 


Although a virtual ceremony probably isn’t what soon-to-be-graduates had in mind, Penn State said it remains committed o celebrating in person once guidelines let it.

Back in September, Penn State said it will notify graduates about in-person events once concrete plans are formed. Although there’s likely still lots of work to be done, the arrival of coronavirus vaccines offers a glimmer of hope. Hopefully, spring 2020 graduates can get in on the fun, too.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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