University’s December graduation ceremonies to be held virtually

An exterior view of the Whitten University Center. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami
By News@TheU

An exterior view of the Whitten University Center. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

University’s December graduation ceremonies to be held virtually

By News@TheU
Instead of in-person celebrations at Hard Rock Stadium, President Julio Frenk announced that the University of Miami will hold its four observances online because of updated COVID-19 data.

The University of Miami will celebrate its fall 2020 commencement ceremonies virtually this year in an effort to avoid large gatherings and protect the health and safety of graduates, their families and friends, and others participating in the events. This will also include the special ceremonies for the rescheduled spring 2020 commencement, which was postponed because of the pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday, University President Julio Frenk announced that the decision came after official data showed the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise across the United States, including Florida. 

The fall commencement rituals were going to be held at the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Hurricanes. The virtual ceremonies will be held next week on the same days and times originally announced, Dec. 10-11. 

“We did not arrive at this decision lightly,” said Frenk, a global public health expert and former World Health Organization official. “Yet, as we have done from the outset of the pandemic, we made it a priority to safeguard the health and well-being of our fellow ’Canes, their loved ones, and surrounding communities.” 

Since last semester, Frenk and other University administrators worked tirelessly with public health experts from UHealth and the staff at Hard Rock Stadium to develop and prepare to implement necessary safety protocols for an in-person gathering. However, based on the current recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveling, especially by air, is hazardous.  

“We know this news is disheartening,” Frenk said, who is also the father of a 2020 graduate. “I had looked forward to observing this rite of passage with all of you in person later this month. Please know that in no way does a virtual ceremony diminish your accomplishments nor the deep pride we feel for all that you have done to arrive at this important milestone.” 

To continue the tradition and make the seamless transition to an online format, among other measures, the University invested in an IT platform that will allow for a meaningful experience for graduates and their families. 

“Now more than ever, we look forward to celebrating your resilience in the pursuit of your life goals,” Frenk concluded. “We are grateful for your commitment to your education, your flexibility, and your understanding.” 

The Office of Commencement will share more information regarding how to access the live virtual ceremony in the coming days. Visit commencement.miami.edu for updates.