UC Berkeley class of 2020 graduates are invited to an in-person graduation ceremony at the Greek Theatre on Aug. 29, according to Chancellor Carol Christ in an email.
Campus plans to hold a ceremony and procession, with one event in the morning and one in the afternoon. Graduates will walk across the stage, receive a symbolic diploma and have their pictures taken, the email adds.
All graduates, regardless of attendance, can customize a slide with their photo and a message for the ceremony’s accompanying livestream. The email notes that registration will begin July on a first-come, first-served basis.
Campus sent out multiple surveys to gather graduates’ preferences for the timing of the ceremony, according to Skanda Suresh, who graduated in 2020.
Suresh believes the celebration held earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a Minecraft commencement and a slideshow from the College of Engineering, was reasonable. However, he did not participate as he chose to spend time with friends instead.
Suresh added that whether his family and friends will attend the in-person ceremony is the biggest factor in his decision to attend.
“I don’t feel the need to go,” Suresh said. “I feel like I’ve attained closure. I don’t feel the need to walk the stage but if I’m around and my parents want me to go then I’ll probably go.”
Isaac Witte, who graduated in 2020, said he is incredibly happy an in-person ceremony is possible as a result of vaccinations. He hopes to participate in the ceremony, though his attendance will depend on his personal travel plans and graduate school obligations.
Graduates will be able to purchase a limited number of guest tickets, which is to be determined, according to Christ’s email. Witte believes graduating with his support network will celebrate everyone’s contributions.
“We’ve all had a difficult year, and I think it’s important for us to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished up to this point,” Witte said in an email. “This ceremony will certainly feel a bit different since we’ve been away from Berkeley for a year, but I hope that we’ll still enjoy reuniting as a class and giving thanks to all those who have supported us throughout our time at Berkeley.”
Witte also hopes that the ceremony will include a guest speaker for the commencement address as per tradition.
Christ added that while UC Berkeley is excited to invite graduates back to campus, it recognizes that not everyone is able to attend the in-person ceremony.
“I especially want to acknowledge our international graduates, whose visas may have expired or who may not be able to enter the country because of current travel restrictions,” Christ said in her email. “Your degree, and the efforts you made to reach this milestone, are no less valuable, and I cherish every contribution you made to the university. You will always be part of the Cal community.”