Virtual Rice University commencement set for Saturday


Doug Miller

Jeff Falk

Virtual Rice University commencement set for Saturday
Class of 2020 to be honored in online ceremonies

HOUSTON — (May 15, 2020) – Rice’s Class of 2020 will be honored this weekend in a ceremony unlike any other in the university’s history.

Instead of unfolding as usual in the Academic Quad, with graduates and their loved ones gathered on the grassy centerpiece of the campus, Rice’s 107th commencement will be a series of virtual events celebrated online. One video presentation will honor undergraduates, another will honor recipients of advanced degrees and another will recognize recipients of doctoral degrees.

The three virtual events will go live on Saturday, May 16, complete with an address from President David Leebron, cameos and special guest appearances by Rice alumni, speeches by fellow students, greetings from deans and college magisters and a massive roundup of photos representing the entire graduating class. A total of 1,910 students will graduate, and the name of each graduate will be read during the event.

The virtual commencement ceremonies will be broadcast simultaneously online on Rice’s commencement page, its Facebook page and its YouTube channel. The advanced degrees ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. CDT, the doctoral ceremony will be shown at 1 p.m. and the undergraduate ceremony will air at 3 p.m.

The videos will remain on Rice’s commencement page, as well Facebook and YouTube, for anyone who misses the initial broadcast. After the first broadcast, the videos will be time-stamped so viewers can skip ahead to a particular college or school.

Students, faculty and staff have spent weeks organizing and producing the virtual commencement after pandemic concerns led the university to transition to remote learning in late March. Among the myriad tasks involved in the project has been soliciting hundreds of photographs from graduating students, many of whom have been finishing their studies from their homes in other countries.

Rice plans to hold an in-person commencement ceremony on campus for the Class of 2020 at a later date still to be determined.

What: Rice University Class of 2020 virtual commencement ceremony

When: Saturday, May 16; 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.



Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 4 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.