female graduate. text reads, "This class will never back down"

U to celebrate 8,628 graduates at 2020 virtual commencement

While the coronavirus pandemic may have upended a traditional spring commencement gathering, the celebration will go on. The University of Utah’s 151st general commencement will be held virtually on Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. at utah.edu/live and on KUTV.com.

Cameras on University of Utah President Ruth Watkins as she records her address for the 2020 virtual commencement

A behind-the-scenes look as President Ruth V. Watkins records her address for the 2020 virtual commencement.

“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 are 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.”

The U will celebrate 8,628 graduates at the first-ever virtual commencement, including Miranda Stewart, the 2020 General Commencement student speaker. Prior to attending the U, Stewart 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.”infographic showing

About the graduating class: (These numbers are based on data available prior to graduation and are subject to change.)

Fun fact:

  • This class is the first to graduate from the U since it was selected as a new member of the Association of American Universities—an invitation-only, prestigious group of 65 leading research institutions.

By the numbers:

  • Students in the Class of 2020 represent 27 Utah counties, all 50 states and 59 countries
  • 8,628 total graduates
  • 9,280 degrees (some graduates receive more than one degree); 5,851 bachelor’s degrees; 2,411 master’s degrees; 686 doctorates; 92 Juris Doctors; 134 doctors of medicine, 60 doctors of pharmacy; and 46 doctors of dental surgery
  • 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

Speakers:

  • President Ruth V. Watkins will officiate
  • Keynote speaker: John Warnock, co-founder, Adobe Inc.
  • Student speaker: Miranda Stewart, who is graduating with majors in sociology and international studies

Special awards:

  • An honorary degree will be presented to Kristen Ries.
  • The Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, a $50,000 cash award and the most prestigious honor the university bestows on its faculty, will be announced separately.
  • Faculty receiving special awards will be recognized.

Schedule for college convocations

  • Traditional in-person convocations will take place on Dec. 18 and 19, 2020. More precise schedules will be announced separately.

Joining the event

  • Gather friends and family, wear your regalia if you have it and join the virtual general commencement ceremony at utah.edu/live or on KUTV.com.
  • Graduates are encouraged to share memories of their time at the U and graduation photos on social media using #UtahGrad20.

Watch it later

Media Contacts

Morgan Aguilarcommunications specialist, University of Utah Communications