A treasured, lasting memory for every college student is the day they celebrate the completion of their degree and realize after all the hard work and sacrifice; it was all worth it. To ensure graduates, families, friends, and faculty are able to mark this significant occasion from anywhere in the world, the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) is hosting a virtual commencement to celebrate the fall graduating class on October 21, 2023, at 10 a.m. AZ Local Time. Be sure to check our Graduation Ceremony Information Page to learn more about how you and your friends and family can join in the celebration.
To stay up-to-date on announcements made on the University Facebook and Instagram channels, we recommend that you to RSVP to the Facebook event for the ceremony and share the link with family and friends. Additionally, you are invited to participate in a Facebook Live Commencement Ceremony Walkthrough on Tuesday, October 10 at 3 p.m. PT so you know what to expect on the big day! Then, be sure to join us in a Facebook Live Pre-Commencement Ceremony Celebration on Thursday, October 19 at 3 p.m. PT for some fun games and chances to win some exclusive UAGC swag!
The University leadership team is excited to provide graduates with a memorable experience and has been preparing for the fall ceremony for several months. Recognizing that graduates often plan months or even years in advance to participate in their commencement, the leadership team is dedicated to ensuring graduates experience the best celebration possible.
“The objective is to provide opportunity for all eligible UAGC grads to participate in their graduation, especially if they aren’t able to attend an in-person event,” explains University Events and Engagement Manager Ben Gothia. “As we continue to have virtual ceremonies, we are striving to improve the experience.”
With this event, the virtual experience will acknowledge the graduates’ accomplishments.
“Everyone is invited to create their own celebration, gather family and friends together virtually or in-person, and view the ceremony together,” explains UAGC Chief Operating Officer Katie Scheie. “I’m really excited to see all of the creative ways that our graduates participate.”
To help make this a memorable event, there are a number of “experiences” planned. Some of the many highlights include:
- Keynote speech from Omar Vasquez, in-house counsel at Vulcan, the family office of the late Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen
- Speeches from UAGC Senior Vice President, Paul Pastorek, University of Arizona President, Robert C. Robbins, and UAGC Alum Mauri Garcia
Perhaps the most exciting experience during the virtual celebration is the option for graduates to produce individualized “stage clips” of themselves celebrating their accomplishments. Every graduate will receive a link prior to the ceremony, which allows them to submit a picture or video and receive a custom clip with an introduction and outgoing highlights that can be shared directly to their social media channels.
How to Throw a Commencement Party at Home
The University hosts two ceremonies a year, one in person in the spring and one virtual in the fall. Past commencement ceremonies have been streamed online for graduates who were unable to make the trip to the California or Arizona locations in person. Those who celebrated their achievement at home in the past have gotten creative in their commencement planning. To help you stay organized and get your creative juices flowing ahead of the ceremony, the University created a Commencement Checklist that serves as a guide, providing some ideas on how to get festive, and ensuring you enjoy a stress-free virtual celebration.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Virtual Commencement
- Background decorations are a must: Do you go all out for holidays? Then you already know a thing or two about decorations. This is an occasion where it’s perfectly acceptable to make the celebration all about you, so choose any room you like and give it a makeover with signs, streamers, banners, balloons, glittery backdrops, or anything that puts a smile on your face. Remember to wear your cap and gown to add to the festive look! If you’re inviting friends or family to join you, encourage them to bring signs or decorations of their own. You could even kick it up a notch and have shirts made up with your face on them, with large lettering that says, “Congratulations!”
- Send e-vites and announcements to friends and family: If your loved ones aren’t traveling to your home for commencement, you can still make a plan to get everyone together for your big moment. Send an e-vite or virtual graduation announcement with details on the commencement ceremony so they can watch it from wherever they are.
- Host your commencement watch party online: Zoom and BlueJeans are popular video conferencing tools, but there are other options out there! Do your research and find one that best suits your needs.
- Create a congratulatory video montage with classmates: Students are adept at forming friendships within the online classroom. One way to celebrate your collective accomplishments is to gather congratulatory video messages from each other and create a montage. You could be the person who kicks things off by creating a video congratulating one classmate and ask them to “pay it forward” by creating their own video for another UAGC grad.
- Make a shareable graduation story: If you’re not shy about sharing your achievements on social media, you can create a “story” for commencement. Start by taking videos and photos of the decoration process, then let your followers watch as you chronicle every moment of the big day. Don’t forget to include your “thank yous” (like an award ceremony acceptance speech) and talk about all the people in your support system who have helped you get through college.
- Take lots of photos!: Don’t forget to document your day by taking as many pictures as you can. Need some tips? Check out this blog for some great advice on snapping the best graduation photos! And be sure to share them on your social profiles — or share them with us on here — using #UAGCgrad23. We will also be hosting a photo contest leading up to the big day, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for details!
- Cookies and cake: That’s it. Eat cookies and cake on your graduation celebration day! An advantage of celebrating at home is that you can reward yourself with treats. Know a friend or relative who has baking talents? Ask them to contribute a dessert to the party. Check out some of these delicious UAGC-inspired commencement recipes you can create in advance. Enjoy, and share leftovers with neighbors or others who will be proud of you.
One last thing – don’t forget to take a moment to celebrate yourself. Graduating from college is a significant life achievement, placing you firmly on the path to becoming a lifelong learner. Continue to share your accomplishments with us after graduation using the hashtag #UAGCgrad23 and enjoy your success!
“This is all about celebrating your achievements, your sacrifices, and the incredibly hard work that you’ve put into finishing college,” Scheie says. “Our graduates represent our legacy, and we can’t wait to see what you do!”