News & Media

UNCG to honor nearly 5,000 graduates at virtual commencement

UNC Greensboro will honor nearly 5,000 graduates – from the May, August, and December 2020 classes – at its Virtual Commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. 

The Virtual Doctoral Recognition ceremony will take place Friday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m.

UNCG awarded 2,809 degrees, as well as 15 Beyond Academics certificates, in May. An additional 678 degrees were awarded in August. UNCG expects to award approximately 1,451 degrees in December, including 1,111 bachelor’s degrees, 286 master’s degrees, 49 doctoral degrees, and five specialist in education degrees. Of the degrees awarded in December, 86 will be conferred to international students. 

While the pandemic and associated public health directives currently restrict the ability to gather in person, UNCG is committed to honoring its graduates with a unique, virtual experience – one that has pomp and circumstance, some personalized touches, a welcome from Saturday Night Live cast member Lauren Holt ’13, and a few more celebrity appearances.  

“The Class of 2020 has demonstrated a kind of determination and persistence that will get them through life’s biggest challenges,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “They have shown tremendous resilience and the kind of compassion and sense of community that speaks well to our collective character – the character of the UNC Greensboro family. We are proud to celebrate them.”

The celebration began Nov. 23, with the launch of UNCG’s commencement website – The website has since expanded to include more student profiles, the addition of commencement programs, as well as colleges’ and schools’ celebration messages from deans, faculty, and alumni. Additionally, graduates and graduation candidates have received, by email, their very own individual web pages so that they can celebrate and share their pages with family and friends. Nearly 4,900 individual student web pages were created as part of the celebration.

The Dec. 11 online ceremony will kick off with a special message from UNCG alumna and Saturday Night Live cast member Lauren Holt ’13. There will be a welcome from Chancellor Gilliam, a presentation of honorary degrees to recipients Rhiannon Giddens and Emmy Lou Harris, and remarks from student speakers Jurne Smith and Casey W. Johnson. Students can also expect several celebrity shout-outs near the end of the ceremony. 

The ceremony includes the traditional conferring of degrees, as well as a virtual tassel turn. Chancellor Gilliam will offer final remarks and Alison Csaji will ring the University Bell to conclude the ceremony. 

In addition to the virtual experience, the greater Greensboro community will celebrate 2020 graduates as part of the winter holiday celebrations downtown. There will be special congratulations messages during the Light the Night event on Dec. 4 and 5 and the Balloon Regatta on Dec. 12 and 13.

UNCG will amplify graduates’ social media posts and add them to a curated display on the Virtual Commencement web pages. Graduates are encouraged to:

  • Use the hashtags #UNCGGrad and #UNCGWay on photo and video posts.
  • Tag @uncg and your school/college/department in graduation-related stories on Instagram, so UNCG can re-post on its accounts. 
  • Use Class of 2020-themed animated stickers, augmented reality filters, and other digital swag at
  • Participate in the UNCG Alumni Association’s #UNCGNewAlum contest.

Graduates are also encouraged to add their own photos to the Commencement photo album on the UNCG Mobile app:

  • Open the app and go to the user menu by tapping the head icon in the top right corner.
  • Select the Celebrate the Class of 2020 persona.
  • Scroll down and find the photo album.
  • Tap the top of the album “Sign in and share your celebration.”
  • Tap the head icon in the top right hand corner again and sign in with your UNCG credentials.
  • Click “Upload an Image” in the yellow bar.
  • Upload an image and add a title and description if you would like.
  • Submit your image.
  • Your submission will be reviewed, and once your image has been accepted it will be added to the photo album.

When we are once again able to gather in person, UNCG is committed to hosting special in-person events to celebrate the 2020 graduates. Until then, the University will do everything it can on campus, in the community, and through the power of technology to give Spartans the special day and cherished moments they deserve.