Uncertainty Surrounds UCSD Commencement Ceremony in Wake of COVID-19


A graduation cap in the grass.
Kristina Stahl / The Triton

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According to the UC San Diego commencement website, the weekend of June 13 and 14 is still scheduled for graduation festivities, including the 2020 All-Campus Commencement Ceremony. However, the website also warns that plans may change as the COVID-19 pandemic develops, and states that participating students and faculty will be notified via email if plans are altered.

UCSD is one of four UC campuses that have not yet made a decision on commencement ceremonies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UC Davis, UC Riverside, and UC Santa Cruz have also not made decisions regarding their commencements. The remaining UC campuses have decided to postpone their in-person commencements. In addition, some campuses, like UC Santa Barbara, will be offering virtual ceremonies that will take place on or around the original ceremony date.

Bill Whitaker, award-winning correspondent of CBS program 60 Minutes, is currently slated to deliver the keynote address for the 2020 commencement.

During his 40 years as a reporter, Whitaker earned an Emmy for his coverage of the financial scandal surrounding televangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker in 1988. He won additional Emmy awards in 2016 for his coverage of stolen computer files from the Swiss bank HSBC, and in 2018 for his coverage on Drug Enforcement Administration whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi.

Last year, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivered the keynote address at the 2019 All-Campus Commencement. In her address, Albright criticized rising nationalist and isolationist sentiment in the United States and spoke about the importance of diversity and innovation in the future.

Until a final decision is made on commencement, registration remains open until May 20.

Samir Nomani is the News Editor at The Triton. You can follow him @samir_the_first.