How can we make a virtual graduation feel just as special, just as celebratory and honor achievement just as well as an in-person celebration on campus? Units within the College of the Environment are working hard to carefully plan ceremonies to honor the Class of 2020 in a memorable way that emulates the pomp and circumstance graduates enjoy when they walk across the big stage while being cheered on by family, friends and loved ones. 

The College of the Environment’s graduating class has always been led into Husky Stadium by the Gonfaloniere, a student selected to carry the College’s banner due to their outstanding accomplishments, and Guardian of the Gonfalon, who are alumni volunteers who watch over the banners during the ceremony so that the Gonfalonieres can enjoy their graduation experience. This year, our Gonfaloniere is School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Marine Biology student Andrew Chin, whose image will ‘lead’ our graduates in the broadcasted ceremony along with his alum counterpart and Guardian of the Gonfalon, Christen Becker.

Becker offers this piece of advice to graduates: “Entering the workforce during a global pandemic is daunting but you are Huskies. You are undaunted. You’ve been training for this. You are College of the Environment grads. Solving problems is what you do. You’ve got this–be creative, work together and create opportunity.”

On June 11, graduates and faculty will gather via Zoom for the Program on the Environment graduation ceremony which will be live streamed on YouTube for friends and family. They will hear from three speakers: alumni Anna Johnson, keynote Kathleen Dean Moore and student Claire Kasinadhuni. The relatively intimate gathering will allow for a sense of community and easy conversation after the event. 

Students over at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences will be celebrated on June 11 with a virtual ceremony featuring speeches from undergraduate student Michael McNorvell, graduate student Lord Ameyaw and a keynote address from Forterra CEO Michelle Connor. Each student will receive a special SEFS pen to commemorate this year’s graduation.

The School of Marine and Environmental Affairs will be celebrating their graduates on June 11 with a Zoom ceremony. Attendees will hear from Dean Lisa Graumlich, Director Nives Dolsak, grad student speakers Charlotte Dohrn and Sallie Lau, and a special keynote speaker. In lieu of a graduation party, one of the students is hosting virtual karaoke after the ceremony. Staff have been working with Earth Hero to send sustainability themed gift boxes with a SMEA branded refillable pen, notebook made with recycled materials, a stainless steel wine tumbler, sticker and postcard from Nives and first year students with congratulations and well wishes.

The School of Oceanography will use a live stream on June 11, dockside at the R/V Thomas G. Thompson. Students will hear from familiar faces from Oceanography including Director Rick Keil and Associate Professor Susan Hautala. Students will still be donning the traditional School of Oceanography stole, purchased by faculty and alum as an acknowledgement of their achievements. Following the ceremony, families and friends of graduates will be taken aboard the Thompson for a virtual tour.

The Department of Atmospheric Sciences’ graduation celebration on June 12 will be a virtual celebration on Zoom and live streamed on YouTube for families and friends to watch. Students will have a personalized announcement read by Professor Becky Alexander during the ceremony, along with a presentation of awards for academic achievement. Students members of the UW chapter of the American Meteorological Society will be honored. 

Graduates from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences will gather via Zoom on June 12, with a plan to gather to celebrate once allowed to do so. During the Zoom ceremony, attendees will hear from Dean Lisa Graumlich, grad student Catherine Austin, undergraduate Reagan Jarvis and the keynote address will be delivered by University of Alaska, Fairbanks Associate Professor Anne Beaudreau. Each student will be featured on the dedicated Spring 2020 Graduation page on their website.

The Department of Earth and Space Sciences will be celebrating its graduates on June 13, the morning of the UW campus-wide commencement. Friends and family of graduating students are invited to watch using the ESS graduation live stream, which will feature speeches from undergraduate senior and Husky 100 recipient Michaela Leung, graduate student Emma Kahle, alum Twila Moon, department chair Eric Steig and College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich. The ceremony will end with words of encouragement and congratulations from the community to the graduates. Letters from Eric Steig, stickers and custom locally-made reusable water bottles will be sent to all graduates who would like one.

Graduates of Marine Biology will enjoy an intimate graduation ceremony, also the morning of Commencement. Using a green screen and light setup usually used for a broadcast meteorology course, a photo of each graduating student will appear alongside Professor Kerry Naish as she announces their name. Graduates will receive custom Marine Biology water bottles and stickers.

Congratulations, Class of 2020!