NYU Shanghai Launches Virtual Countdown Events To Celebrate the Class of 2020

Mar 27 2020

The COVID-19 epidemic has upended so many givens of the school calendar, including how and where the Class of 2020 might celebrate their achievements. NYU President Andrew Hamilton announced earlier this week that the May 20 university-wide Commencement at Yankee Stadium would be postponed indefinitely. And NYU Shanghai Chancellor Yu Lizhong, Vice Chancellor Lehman, and Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen wrote students this week to say that while Commencement is still scheduled for May 29, a final decision would not be made on its status until May 1.

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Regardless of where or when Commencement takes place, NYU Shanghai will be launching several events to keep the Class of 2020 engaged and excited about the conclusion of their college careers. The 2020 Student Commencement Committee has prepared a series of online  events, beginning with an 88 Shanghai countdown that will take place on March 28 via livestream. A Zoom chat room will open for attendees to engage in virtual face-to-face communication. Chancellor Yu Lizhong and Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman will attend and join participants in a virtual toast. The Committee is sending students various digital backdrops, such as the academic building, so that they can use them in their Zoom background and feel like they are at school. 

In the lead up to the event, the committee also invited graduates to share videos of the things they miss most about Shanghai and the NYU Shanghai community. The videos will be shown at the event and participants can vote for their favorites to win a prize.

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The poster of the video challenge launched by the 2020 Student Commencement Committee

The university is closely collaborating with public health authorities to make a final decision about the NYU Shanghai Commencement by May 1. In case the ceremony cannot happen as scheduled or students cannot attend the ceremony in-person, the university has provided three options for seniors: First, they can attend virtually, via a livestream broadcast. Second, they can return to Shanghai in Spring 2021 to celebrate alongside the Class of 2021; and third, they can apply to attend the university-wide ceremony in New York, once a new date is set.  

“We understand that this is a difficult time for all of us. This is the first challenge we’ve met before we enter into a new chapter of our lives. We will definitely encounter more difficulties in the future,” Commencement Committee wrote to seniors. “But please always remember that we are all in this together, and we all must be part of the solution. We believe ‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn’. ” The committee plans to announce even more events later this spring. 

“The Class of 2020 is surmounting a previously unimaginable challenge. In the history of NYU Shanghai, your class will be legendary,” said Vice Chancellor Lehman.