As COVID-19’s social-distancing rules cancel graduation ceremonies around the country, the class of 2020 will likely find themselves at home come the big day, watching the proceedings on their screens. In light of these cancellations, social media giants such as Facebook and YouTube plan to celebrate graduates by hosting their own virtual commencements — all packed with celebrity guests.
Leading up to and after National Graduation Day on May 17, there are many virtual celebrations to choose from, featuring distinguished speakers such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Oprah and more. From WWE champions to the Jonas Brothers, here is a list of virtual commencement speakers and participants.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Date: All of May
Speakers: John Cena and astronaut Scott Kelly
Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is a classic graduation gift — one John Cena and Scott Kelly used as a jumping-off point for their own Seuss-themed graduation celebration. The festivities kicked off on May 1 and include readings, graduation photo-sharing, inspirational words of wisdom and more. Other activities and decorations available to help throw your own party are available on the website.
Facebook’s #Graduation 2020
Date: May 15th
Speakers: Oprah, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, gymnast Simone Biles
Facebook’s event will be co-hosted by The Office vets Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak on May 15 at 11:00 a.m. PT. “The ceremony will acknowledge high schools and colleges in the U.S, by name, state by state, including photos and videos of the class of 2020 and messages from deans and principals across the country,” according to a statement. Miley Cyrus will also sing her iconic anthem, “The Climb.”
iHeartMedia’s Podcast Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020
Date: May 15th
Speakers: Jimmy Fallon, Halsey, Hillary Clinton, John Legend, Kesha, Pitbull, chef David Chang
Podcast Commencement: Speeches for the class of 2020 celebrates grads with star-studded episodes featuring speakers like soccer player and World Cup champ Abby Wambach, Katie Couric, makeup artist Bobbi Brown, Chelsea Handler, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, football player Eli Manning, Sienna Miller, singer and songwriter Khalid, journalist Guy Raz, Tim McGraw and General Stan McChrystal.
Her Campus’ I’m Still Graduating
Date: May 15th
Speakers: Nico Tortorella, Frankie J. Grande, Teyana Taylor, Marcia Gay Harden, reporter Jodi Kantor, soccer player Kealia Ohai Watt, Logan Browning, Co-Founder of Supermajority Cecile Richards, CEO of Feeding America Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of P&G Beauty Alex Keith, Lennon Stella, the WWE’s Natalya Neidhart, CEO of Lilly Pulitzer Michelle McQuality Kelly, founder and CEO of Bumble Whitney Wolfe Herd
I’m Still Graduating features business titans as well as special performances from Liam Payne, Austin Mahone, Jesse McCartney, Drax Project, Grouplove and many others. “This graduation is all about the Class of 2020, so it was pivotal to us that Class of 2020 students don’t just get to watch it, but actually get to play an integral part in the event,” says Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Co-Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Media.
Date: May 16th
Main Speaker: Barack Obama
Graduate Together will air on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube and other platforms. LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, H.E.R., Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe and Ben Platt will appear at the ceremony, which kicks off 8:00 p.m. ET.
Verizon’s Class of 2020: Ready for Anything
Date: May 22nd – June 12th
Speakers: Executive Chairman of Estée Lauder William P. Lauder, San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers, the Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love, Co-founder/CEO of Global Citizen Hugh Evans, Co-founder of Away Jen Rubio, 42nd President of the U.S. Bill Clinton and Verizon Chairman/CEO Hans Vestberg.
Verizon’s commencement series will feature 30-minute sessions over the span of four weeks with well-known figures in business, politics and sports. Those who tune in will be able to interact with the speakers and submit questions to be answered during a Q&A. The series will be held on Verizon’s LinkedIn for all graduates. Dates for the series are May 22th, May 29th, June 5th and June 12th, with times TBA.
YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020
Date: June 6th
Speakers: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, BTS, CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc. Sundar Pichai, Malala Yousafzai, Lady Gaga
The virtual commencement ceremony Dear Class of 2020 will premiere on Saturday, June 6 at 3:00 p.m. ET. BTS will headline the “virtual grad night afterparty” and the virtual commencement will feature appearances by Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington, Zendaya and Jackie Aina, alongside YouTube creators like Dude Perfect and the Try Guys.
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