UIC to hold virtual graduation celebration

East campus
Graduates will have an opportunity to return to campus for a face-to-face graduation ceremony once it is safe to do so.

More than 5,000 students from the University of Illinois at Chicago who have earned their degrees will have the opportunity to share their hard work with their family and friends through a virtual graduation celebration on May 16.

The celebration is not a replacement for the traditional UIC commencement ceremony, which will be rescheduled once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and health officials have deemed it is safe for public gatherings to resume.

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The university has teamed up with Marching Order, a private company that allows an opportunity for educational institutions to provide a tailored virtual graduation ceremony. At UIC, 14 of the university’s 16 colleges will share information about their graduates onto the Marching Order site through links that will be able to be shared by the graduates themselves. These include the UIC John Marshall Law School as well as the Honors College.

The College of Medicine will have its own virtual celebration on May 8 so that they can begin working in the health field as soon as possible. Students in the Graduate College will participate in their academic college’s online ceremonies.

Of the 5,381 total graduates participating, 3,149 will earn undergraduate degrees while 2,232 will receive graduate/advanced degrees. The largest number of graduates are from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, followed by the College of Engineering and College of Nursing.

“We are very proud of our graduates,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said. “We will confer their degrees in a virtual ceremony so that they can move on with the next phase of their careers. And while we will celebrate virtually this milestone, I view it as a dress rehearsal for the face-to-face celebration that everyone wants to participate in and one that our graduates, their families and their friends deserve. When it is safe to do so, I’m sure that everyone in the class of 2020 will join us for a real celebration on campus.”

Until then, graduates and their families will be able to view congratulatory messages from the chancellor as well as commencement speakers during the May 16 virtual event. The links will go live at 9 a.m. and be viewable afterward on UIC commencement‎. Commencement speakers include:

  • College of Dentistry: Dr. Clark Stanford, dean of the College of Dentistry.
  • Jane Addams College of Social Work: Paul Makarewicz, MSW ’00, chief mission integration officer for Providence Saint John’s Health Center. He also will be receiving this year’s Jane Addams Pioneer Award.
  • College of Engineering: William D. Unger, BA ’71, partner emeritus, Mayfield Fund.
  • College of Pharmacy: Rina Shaw, group vice president, specialty and retail pharmacy operations at Walgreens.
  • College of Business Administration: Michael Fung, BS’73, chair of the audit committee and member of the board of directors for Franklin Covey, 99 Cents Only Stores and Floor and Décor, and former Walmart executive.
  • College of Nursing: Leslie Mancuso, president and chief executive officer of Jhpiego, an international nonprofit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.
  • Honors College: Mary M. Case, university librarian and dean of libraries.

Prior to May 16, graduates will have the opportunity to upload a photo on a slide which will list their names, major and a personal message. The page listing the names of the students and other private information will be available through a link to the graduate, who will be able to share it.

The ceremony with commencement speeches will be open to the public, including the media.

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