A Commencement unlike any other

Posted on May 10, 2021

Student holding up both hands in celebration at commencement
Student holding up both hands in celebration at commencement

For the first time in a year and a half, UNC Greensboro graduates gathered together, in person, to celebrate Commencement.

UNCG held five ceremonies – with social distance, face coverings, and all COVID-19 protocols – on Friday and Saturday. The University awarded more than 2,800 degrees to the Class of 2021. Around 900 graduates from the Class of 2020 returned to Greensboro to walk across the stage.

It was a weekend full of emotional reunions and immense pride after what has been perhaps the most challenging year of our lives.

“If you can make it through a global pandemic and get your degree, you can overcome anything,” Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., told the graduates. “Let me say it again,” he said as the Coliseum erupted into applause. “If you can get your degree under these conditions, you can do anything.”

Traditionally, UNCG Commencement has featured multiple speakers. This year’s ceremonies were streamlined, with only a few speakers, so that every student had the opportunity to walk across the stage and hear their name called.

Given capacity restrictions, all ceremonies were livestreamed for families and friends who were not in attendance. There were more than 12,700 livestream views during the two days, with people tuning in from as far away as New Zealand. The recordings are available at commencement.uncg.edu

While it certainly wasn’t the typical Commencement, it was just as special – if not more – for the newly-minted alumni. 

“Today’s the day I finally graduate! A day I’ve waited an entire year for,” wrote Sophie Eisenhardt ’20 on Twitter. “I cannot thank UNCG enough for making sure the Class of 2020 still got their special day.”

Check out highlights from the ceremonies below. 

Chancellor Gilliam speaking on stage at Commencement
Doctoral student getting hooded at commencement
View of commencement stage from floor

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park and Martin W. Kane, University Communications


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