SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The University of Utah celebrated 8,628 graduates during its first ever virtual commencement on Thursday, April 30th.

The 151st general commencement was held via Utah.edu/live at 6:30 p.m., and included President Ruth V. Watkins, John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe, Inc and Miranda Stewart, a student graduating with majors in sociology and international studies.

Check out the story attached produced, written, and edited by ABC4 Photojournalist John Perry.

“We are so proud of the resilience and determination shown by the Class of 2020,” said President Ruth V. Watkins. “While we share our graduates’ disappointment in not being able to gather together on this momentous occasion, our pride and joy in their accomplishments is unwavering. Their creativity, passion and persistence will be the bright lights guiding us forward. We will celebrate their achievements now and again in December, so they receive the pomp they deserve despite this unusual circumstance.”

This years student speaker Miranda Stewart said prior to attending the U, she experienced some strict expectations of who she should and could be at another institution. When she came to the U, instead of being discouraged and punished for being herself, she said her growth was applauded and encouraged.

“During my time at the U, my class and I have been dealt some exceptionally challenging hands,” said Stewart. “We have faced every tragedy and trial with grace and resiliency. No, it is not fair, but none of us is facing it alone. Being in the same boat means we all weather this storm together and I have no doubt we will make it through.”

The graduating class of 2020 represent 27 Utah counties, all 50 states and 59 countries. Additional facts about this years graduates include:

  • 9,280 degrees (some graduates receive more than one degree); 5,851 bachelor’s degrees; 2,411 master’s degrees; 686 doctoral degrees; 92 juris doctors; 134 doctors of medicine, 60 doctors of pharmacy; and 46 doctors of dentistry
  • 229 students are graduating with University Honors degrees
  • 4,420 self-identified men, 4,130 self-identified women and 78 nonbinary/unidentified
  • 3.39 is the average undergraduate grade point average
  • 25 is the average age of bachelor’s degree recipients; the youngest undergraduate is 19, the oldest is 69
  • 31 is the average age of students receiving graduate degrees; the youngest is 18 and the oldest is 69
  • The top 10 undergraduate majors are: psychology, communication, kinesiology, biology, nursing, economics, mechanical engineering, political science, accounting and finance
  • 321 veterans are receiving degrees

Special awards will be given to Kristen Ries who will receive and honorary degree, as well as the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, a $50,000 cash award and the most prestigious honor the university to it’s faculty. Additionally, any faculty receiving special awards will be recognized

The school stated they will hold traditional in-person graduations on December 18 and 19, 2020 and will announce precise schedules separately.

Those graduating are asked to weir their regalia if they have it as well as share memories of their time at the U and graduation photos on social media using #UtahGrad20.

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