IU to honor graduates in May with some virtual pomp and circumstance

Though spring commencement has been postponed due to the global pandemic, Indiana University still plans to honor its graduates in May with some virtual pomp and circumstance.

A man holding a diploma, wearing a cap and gownView print quality image
Indiana University plans to honor the accomplishments of its Class of 2020 virtually. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

"With President Michael A. McRobbie's leadership, we've created several recognition initiatives designed to honor our graduates and celebrate their achievements," Executive Director of University Events Doug Booher said. "Commencement is such an important rite of passage, so while we can't yet gather in large numbers to honor our graduates, we wanted to be sure they feel honored for their perseverance during this difficult time, and know that IU will always be one of their homes."

Plans include:

Special website: The cornerstone of IU's honors include a dedicated website that will host acknowledgements and virtual celebrations, links to video messages, social media interactions and commencement music playlists. The site will be home to a special message from McRobbie, IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel, IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar and regional leaders, as well as deans. The site is expected to launch May 5.

Caps and gowns: Herff Jones will ship graduates' caps and gowns to their home, so they can wear it with family and friends, take photos and then bring it to their campus-based live event later in the year, or return it via a provided return shipping label. There will also be a cap decoration contest.

At-home delivery: All 22,000-plus degree recipients will receive two special gifts and a note of congratulations. One of these gifts is a campus-specific bicentennial poster commemorating their place as a graduate in our Bicentennial Year.

Online commencement program: The traditional commencement program booklet -- with the elements of the celebration listed, and graduates' names as normally displayed -- will be available for download.

Celebratory music: The commencement website will also be home to various selections of IU-connected groups performing specific tunes.

Virtual displays: Even though they're not on campus, graduates will be able to use virtual filters to "photograph" themselves in front of iconic campus locations.