UCLA cancels traditional graduation ceremonies, replaces with virtual ones

Graduating students pose for a class picture at UCLA on June 14, 2019. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Graduating students pose for a class picture at UCLA on June 14, 2019. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

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UCLA will not have traditional graduation ceremonies for its spring 2020 commencement and will instead hold virtual events, the university announced Wednesday.

“As we all work to limit the spread of COVID-19, it has become increasingly clear that we will not be able to gather in person for spring 2020 commencement ceremonies,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a press release.

The campus-wide commencement, doctoral hooding ceremony and all other department graduation ceremonies will be held online.

The largest commencement will take place on June 12 as an “engaging virtual ceremony,” Block said.

The announcement upset many graduating seniors, who began circulating petitions online urging university officials to reverse their decision.

“Please remember that, even for an event as momentous as commencement, the day does not define the journey,” Block said.

UCLA is the second school in the University of California system to cancel its in-person graduations, after UC Irvine made a similar announcement last week.

UCLA’s ceremony will as usual feature a keynote speaker, whose name will be announced soon, according to Block.

“The College will offer new opportunities to connect our graduates in a variety of ways that further enhance the virtual event,” the chancellor said.

The announcement comes a day after a UCLA student tested positive and two days after a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The chancellor himself was self-quarantining after learning that he recently came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

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