UMass Amherst graduates to be celebrated virtually Friday

Coronavirus Local Impact

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Class of 2020 will be celebrated in a variety of ways this month after being forced to continue their studies remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Within the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Medical School campuses about 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students will graduate this year, with more than 80 percent projected to stay in Massachusetts.

According to a news release sent to 22News, on Friday at 4:30 p.m., UMass Amherst will host an online celebration of this year’s graduates that will be available on their website. During the 15-minute video celebration, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy will host a tribute that honors the graduating class and will include the following speakers:

  • UMass President Marty Meehan
  • Student speaker Grace Junga biochemistry and molecular biology major from Wakefield
  • UMass Amherst alumnus John Jacobs ’90, co-founder and chief creative optimist of Life Is Good.

Jacobs will deliver a full address as the keynote speaker for the class during an in-person commencement at a later date.

The members of the Class of 2020 will always hold a special place in University of Massachusetts history. In the face of fear and doubt they persevered and achieved their goals. They should be proud. Their families and friends should be very proud. We are all proud. I also want to express my gratitude to the leadership, faculty, and staff of each campus, who have demonstrated exemplary dedication and ingenuity in moving our students to degree completion during this unprecedented challenge.

UMass President Marty Meehan

The following is how other UMass schools will be celebrating their graduation:

  • UMass Boston will honor the 2020 graduating class with a formal, in-person commencement celebration at a date to be determined. The originally scheduled commencement dates of May 28-29 will be acknowledged with a special video message for graduates and their families. The 2020 graduates will receive their diplomas in the mail this summer as a “down payment” on the celebration of their tremendous achievement. For more information, visit
  • UMass Dartmouth will congratulate its 2020 graduates of all programs via social media and email on May 8. Among those who will be providing congratulatory videos are Chancellor Robert Johnson, President Meehan, faculty, staff and alumni. Live commencement ceremonies are being planned for Oct. 9 and 10, social distancing guidelines allowing. For more information, visit
  • UMass Lowell will hold a virtual commencement ceremony for its 2020 graduates on Friday, May 29, at 5 p.m. Speakers will include Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, President Marty Meehan, UMass Trustee Chairman Rob Manning, Student Speaker Rachel Record, a criminal justice major from Pepperell, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. All graduates will have their own personalized slide with a special message and photo, along with their name, degree, and accolades. The campus plans to hold a future on-campus event for the Class of 2020 when large gatherings are permitted. For more information, visit
  • The UMass Medical School was the first medical school in the nation to accelerate and hold early Commencement for 135 new physicians in the Class of 2020. A virtual graduation took place on March 31, enabling UMass Medical School’s newly minted doctors to join the frontlines of COVID-19 relief efforts. The School of Medicine’s virtual commencement can be viewed at this link:
  • The UMass Medical School’s Graduate School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will hold virtual Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 31, the originally scheduled Commencement date. Speakers will include Chancellor Michael F. CollinsProvost Terence R. FlottePresident Meehan as well as the deans and class speakers from each school. The Graduate School of Nursing will be at 10 a.m. via UMassMed.ZOOM.US/J/97999763581. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will be at 12 p.m. via UMASSMED.ZOOM.US/J/97999763581

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