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The Class of 2020 Celebrates Graduation Online Instead Of Walking Across The Stage


For the class of 2020, college graduation is anything but traditional. For many, it's been downright anticlimactic.

MADDIE COLE: I never in a million years thought that I wouldn't get to walk across the stage after graduating college.


Maddie Cole (ph) graduated from American University earlier this month - virtually. The university prerecorded a graduation video. The names of more than 2,000 grads flashed across the screen.

SHAPIRO: The commencement speaker, Henry Louis Gates Jr., was sympathetic.


HENRY LOUIS GATES JR: Let's be honest. You had something else entirely in mind for the event we're commemorating today. No one could've imagined this scenario that we're living through - maybe my friend Stephen King, but that's about it.

SHAPIRO: Maddie Cole and her boyfriend did wear blue gowns, toss their caps in the air and drink some celebratory beers.

KELLY: Other seniors were surprised with drive-by graduations.


KELLY: A small gaming nod for Georgia Tech graduates - you could have your Animal Crossing character wear Tech regalia.

SHAPIRO: Some of the biggest celebrities in the country are trying to support the nearly 2 million people in the class of 2020. Facebook hosted a graduation ceremony with appearances from Malala, Cardi B and even Oprah.


OPRAH WINFREY: You've been dreaming about that walk across the stage, your family and friends cheering you on - woop (ph), woop - the caps flung joyously in the air.

NIOSHA GREG: I don't even care if at this point it's in a high school auditorium. I would still go and celebrate. I don't care if there's one person in the auditorium or a hundred people. But to walk across that stage would mean the world to me.

KELLY: Niosha Greg (ph) - she's graduating from the City University of New York next week. She still plans to wear her burgundy cap and gown as she graduates on a computer screen. But living in New York City during the coronavirus has left her feeling anxious at a time when she should be feeling joy.

GREG: I definitely think there's probably, like, a recession coming or something like that. And that's scary to think that that's what I'm graduating into.

SHAPIRO: Well, class of 2020, we know this is a time like no other. And today, we here at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED raise a glass to you. Congratulations.

KELLY: Woohoo (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.