Graduation goes online as thousands of students watch celebrity commencement speakers at home

From individual universities and colleges bringing celebrity graduation speakers to their students over the internet due to the coronavirus pandemic, to major companies like Chase and Facebook organizing virtual graduation celebrations, thousands of members of the Class of 2020 turned to their screens to kick of commencement season. See selected addresses below.

Graduate Together honored the high school Class of 2020, with former president Barack Obama headlining the event.

President Barack Obama also spoke earlier in the day on Saturday to graduates of the many Historically Black Colleges and Universities in an event organized by Chase.

A number of celebrities made speeches to graduates as a part of iHeart Media’s “Commencement: Speeches For The Class of 2020” podcast, with some of the stars including John Legend, Bill and Melinda Gates and Eli Manning.

Facebook hosted a “Graduation 2020” event with commencement speeches from Oprah Winfrey, Awkwafina, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles, among others on Friday.

Another event, called “I’m Still Graduating,” included presentations from Eva Longoria, Jesse McCartney, Margaret Cho and others on Friday. It was organized by

Catholic University celebrated its graduating class virtually May 16.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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