coogs go virtual

University of Houston pivots to completely virtual graduation ceremony for 2020

University of Houston pivots to completely virtual graduation ceremony

Salenah Cartier UH University of Houston
Salenah Cartier, 17, is UH's youngest graduate.  Photo courtesy of University of Houston
Philip Ahern university of houston UH
Philip Ahern, 80, is UH's oldest grad. Photo courtesy of University of Houston
Salenah Cartier UH University of Houston
Philip Ahern university of houston UH

College graduations are usually a time when friends and classmates huddle together, snap pics, and toss their square hats into the air to toast the end of an academic career. But this is no usual year, thanks to the global pandemic.

To that end, the University of Houston has announced that its university-wide commencement will pivot to an all-virtual affair on Thursday, December 17 at 7 pm, the school announced.

Some 11,071 degrees will be conferred for graduates of the 2020 spring, summer, and fall semesters. The ceremony can be viewed here.

The event will be headlined by nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, assistant coach of the UH Track and Field team, who will serve as commencement speaker. Meanwhile, several “ distinguished individuals” will also be recognized for their achievements and contributions to the success of UH, according to a press release.

Select UH colleges will also hold virtual celebrations on Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19. Times and web links can be found on the UH Commencement website. 

UH officials acknowledge “the disappointment and dissatisfaction that the postponement of an in-person commencement ceremony has caused graduates this year,” reads a statement, but they are “committed to inviting back graduates to a future, in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so.”

Here is a quick snapshot of the commencement ceremony, by the numbers:

Spring 2020

  • 4,307 bachelor’s degrees
  • 881 master’s degrees
  • 137 doctoral degrees
  • 402 professional degrees

Summer and Fall 2020

  • 4,170 bachelor’s degrees
  • 885 master’s degrees
  • 249 doctoral degrees
  • 40 professional degrees

The school’s youngest graduate is Salenah Cartier (B.S., Psychology), who is 17; its oldest graduate is Philip Ahern (M.S., Applied Mathematics) who is 80.

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