Editors' note: The fall ceremony will now begin at 6:15 p.m. ET with pre-ceremony videos. The main ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech will host fall commencement exercises online.

The December 2020 university-wide ceremony will be held online Friday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. ET.

During an online broadcast at vt.edu/commencement, graduates will be honored, graduate and undergraduate degrees will be conferred, and special guests and student leaders will speak — plus there will be opportunities for friends and family to participate and offer well wishes. 

Moving online will mitigate the risks presented by large gatherings, help slow the spread of COVID-19, and is in line with public health guidelines. On-campus instruction will also end at Thanksgiving break. 

"Our lives have certainly been different this semester, with many events postponed or moved online," said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. "I know this is disappointing for graduates who were hoping for an in-person experience, however everything we’ve learned about COVID-19 tells us it would not be wise to bring students back on campus for a large indoor gathering. The online ceremony will honor our graduates and celebrate their accomplishments, while keeping our students and community safe."

Virginia Tech held its first online commencement ceremony in the spring. More than 7,000 Hokies graduated and countless others watched online, rooting for the newest members of the Hokie alumni community. 

The online ceremony provided a meaningful opportunity for graduates, their friends and family, and alumni all over the world to come together for one large celebration, even if it wasn't the experience graduates were expecting.

A commencement committee, including graduating students, is preparing this fall’s ceremony and will create an experience for seniors that will be memorable, even if it cannot be in person. 

The change to the fall ceremony will affect spring 2020 graduates who planned to participate in fall exercises. They will no longer have the option to participate in person in fall commencement, and earlier this month, the university announced that the fall celebration planned for spring 2020 graduates could not take place because of the impact of the pandemic on events.

Being able to recognize and celebrate all members of the Class of 2020 is important and details on future opportunities will be shared by email and online

"We are looking forward to when the entire class of 2020 can come back to campus and celebrate our accomplishments together," said Gregory Klatt, president of the Class of 2020 and a spring graduate. "Even though our graduation wasn't in person, it was such a memorable experience and one that so many Hokies near and far shared. Congratulations to this fall's graduates. I know you'll feel the same support and pride of others in Hokie Nation as you mark your next chapter."

For the latest information on the university’s response to the coronavirus, visit vt.edu/ready and for the latest details on commencement, visit vt.edu/commencement. 

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