Congratulations Class of 2020

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman tapes his address for UCI’s virtual commencement. More than 11,000 students graduated from UCI this year, with over 7,400 participating in remote ceremonies. Steve Zylius / UCI

June 22, 2020 - UC Irvine held its first remote commencement ceremonies Saturday, June 13, with more than 7,400 students and their families participating, including 838 Anteater engineers.

The universitywide ceremony began at 10 a.m., followed by the Samueli School reception at 10:30 a.m. for bachelor’s and master’s degree students. A virtual graduate hooding ceremony was also held at 10:30 a.m. for those receiving doctorates.

“The class of 2020 has shown tremendous resilience and character in responding to the COVID-19 emergency and the need to learn remotely,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We are very proud of all they accomplished during their time with us, and we look forward to all they will achieve as they take their places as empowered and educated members of our society.”

The engineering school is expected to award 51 doctorates, 206 master’s degrees and 995 bachelor’s degrees to students this academic year.

“I know this is not the ceremony you dreamed of when you came to UCI years ago, but it is very special because it’s your unique celebration,” said Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington in a recorded speech for the reception. “You have the distinction of having a graduation like no one else because you’re a class like no other. You’ve had challenges like no other and you’ve made it.”

It was Washington’s last time addressing a graduating class at UCI. He is moving to Virginia to become president of George Mason University, effective July 1, 2020. He shared that the students have been the calmest of the groups he’s had discussions with during the past few months, and mentioned how impressed he is with how they’ve managed during the pandemic. “You’ve taught me to embrace the reality of what this means to us, right now and for our future; you’ve actually leaned into it. Some of you have performed better in this time than before the pandemic.

“Watching how you’ve conducted yourself over this period of time makes me proud. I have been made into a better person by knowing you. Thank you. You are a class like no other and so you deserve a graduation like no other. Congratulations Class of 2020.”

Watch the school’s virtual reception, the universitywide celebration and view the 2020 commencement program.

– Lori Brandt