Celebrating Penn Engineering’s 2020 Graduates

A message from Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean:

Now that the semester’s course instruction has concluded, I would like to reach out to the Penn Engineering community to share the School’s plans for the recognition and celebration of the graduates of 2020.

It is very important that we take the time to pause and reflect on the achievements of these students and celebrate them as a group. What they have done, including completing their coursework and final requirements during a global pandemic, was a monumental task and they have more than risen to the occasion. I could not be more proud of them than when I think of this amazing endeavor.

While we all collectively mourn the loss of the opportunity to gather together in May for a ceremony bedecked in brilliant regalia, the procession down Smith Walk lined with cheering family, faculty, and friends to Franklin Field, and the conferral of the diploma on stage with the gravitas this occasion deserves, I want to preemptively congratulate this community for the celebrations that will occur virtually in recognition of the 2020 graduates. I was delighted to see the video contributions that were submitted from around the world from students, families and friends. These messages include such warmth and a shared sense of camaraderie that they are emblematic of the best of Penn Engineering and our mission as a School.

To the recipients of doctoral degrees and their families and friends, please save the date for Thursday, May 14. At 10:00 a.m. (ET) a link will be made available to view the Recognition of the Penn Engineering Class of 2020 Doctoral Graduates.

To those who are graduating with undergraduate and master’s degrees, together with your families and your friends, please mark your calendars for Friday, May 15. Once again at 10:00 a.m. (ET) the link will be made public to view the Recognition of the Penn Engineering Class of 2020 Undergraduate and Master’s Graduates.

Once they are made available, the links can be accessed from this page.

For those members of our community located in different time zones across the world, please do not feel pressured to watch these recognitions in real time. No part of these celebrations will be held live. They will be available to view at your convenience once they have been made public. The videos will also be held in archive on the School’s YouTube channel.

It is my hope that the graduates will use this experience as an opportunity to pause and gather virtually and celebrate with those who have supported them and cheered them on through the years that it took them to reach this milestone. In my mind I am picturing Zoom galleries of families and friends smiling and perhaps raising a toast to mark what is an impressive achievement under normal circumstances, and an extraordinary one now.

The University is also holding its own recognition of the graduates of 2020 on Monday, May 18, at 11:00 a.m. (ET). It is very important to me that Penn Engineering graduates know that this is not the last of the celebrations of their achievements. As President Gutmann has shared, the University is committed to providing an opportunity for all 2020 graduates and their loved ones to celebrate on campus. Details about these events will be shared as soon as the date is set by the University. I cannot wait to be able to hear all of your names and see each of you cross the stage to formally celebrate the granting of your degrees.

Finally, to the Penn Engineering graduates of 2020, I invite you to relax and enjoy the celebrations we have prepared for you as a bright spot in a tumultuous time. I hope they bring you joy and a sense of shared triumph. I very much look forward to the day when we can gather together in person and celebrate your achievements with all the pomp and circumstance that Penn is uniquely known for. Until that day, please stay safe and healthy and know that all of us at the University cannot wait to celebrate with you and your families and friends.