Class of 2020 to Celebrate with Virtual Commencement Exercises

Virtual ceremony on June 13 will give graduates and loved ones an opportunity to celebrate worldwide.

The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies will celebrate its Commencement on Saturday, June 13 in a virtual ceremony at 4 p.m. PST. Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco will deliver the keynote address.

The program includes speeches by GSE&IS graduates Tunette Powell (PhD, Urban Schooling) and Liza Mardoyan (MLIS, Rare Books and Print and Visual Culture). “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be performed by Anousheh Shayestehpour (Educational Leadership Program), and the UCLA Alma Mater, “Hail to the Hills of Westwood,” will be performed by Mardoyan following the Declaration of Degrees.

The Class of 2020 from the UCLA Department of Education includes 36 PhDs; 173 master’s degrees, 30 graduates in the Educational Leadership Program; and 157 UCLA undergrads who achieved their minor in Education. The graduating class of the UCLA Department of Information Studies is made up of 52 students who achieved their master’s degree in Library and Information Science, and one new PhD. 

Students who were eligible and wished to participate in Commencement this year were able to submit their own photo and message, which will appear online during the virtual ceremony on a slide announcing them by name, which they can also download and share on social media.

“GSE&IS is committed to providing our graduating students with recognition of their grand accomplishment in the most feasible and meaningful way we can given current conditions,” says Amy Gershon, EdD, director of the Office of Student Services, whose team solicited feedback via online survey to learn more about what students wanted to have in their virtual celebrations.

The survey found that a majority of graduating students want to come back in June 2021 for a special ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments. Gershon says that this ceremony will be separate from the one for the graduating class of 2021, provided that the campus is able to host large gatherings of more than 10 people.

Each academic program at GSE&IS will be having its own individual recognition ceremony, organized by each program, to take place at various times during the Commencement weekend. Students will be notified by their Division and Program heads who will coordinate these events. 

In addition, Gershon organized a Commencement t-shirt and sash design contest. The winning designs will be shared with the GSE&IS community, with information on ordering and distribution.  

The Virtual Commencement is not a live stream event and will be viewable at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 13. Visit this link to access the UCLA GSE&IS Virtual Commencement 2020.

Following the videos of Dean Suárez-Orozco, Mardoyan, and Powell, the graduates may be found through searching by name (e.g., Joe Bruin) or by academic program (e.g., Teacher Education Program) to see all graduates affiliated with that program.

Photos and/or messages that were submitted by the graduates will be viewable on the slide, and audio of each graduate’s name being read can be accessed by clicking on their personal slide.

The decision was made to not have “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed as part of the 2020 Commencement. The UCLA GSE&IS community is committed to to social justice, equity and basic human rights. Information that guided the development of our graduation program  may be found at these links:

Staples, Brent (June 9, 2018). “African-Americans and the Strains of the National Anthem.” The New York Times.

Robinson, Jeffrey (July 4, 2018). “Video: Do You Know the Star-Spangled Banner’s 3rd Verse?” The Nation.

Taylor, Alan (2014). The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia 1771-1832. pp. 309-10.

“We congratulate all of our graduates on their accomplishments!” says Gershon. “We thank you for choosing UCLA GSE&IS for your education and wish you all great success as you continue on your journey.”