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WSSU to honor the class of 2020 with virtual celebration

William Gibson, president of WSSU Student Government Association, will address the class of 2020 online using the digital platform StageClip. "Virtual Voices: The Class of 2020” will be available at noon on Friday, May 8.

WSSU’s virtual celebration will honor new graduates May 8.

After serving two terms as Winston-Salem State University’s student body president, William Gibson is no stranger to giving a commencement speech. Still, he was looking most forward to addressing fellow classmates and graduates during this year’s commencement, which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In lieu of the traditional celebration that was scheduled for May 8, WSSU will celebrate the hard work and achievements of the class of 2020 with an online celebration, “Virtual Voices: The Class of 2020,” that will be available at noon on Friday, May 8.

Gibson, who will receive an undergraduate degree in political science, will address the students online using the digital platform StageClip. The interactive online platform will recognize degree recipients from summer and fall of 2019 and spring 2020.

Although Gibson was looking forward to celebrating with his peers, he is happy to have an opportunity to commemorate the occasion.

“The bright side of the virtual celebration is that my class and I will still have a chance to commemorate our intended graduation date,” said Gibson. “We’ve all worked so hard to reach this moment, and I’m glad that the university and graduation committee saw it fit to still have something.”

The virtual celebration will recognize individual achievements as each student is announced by name. Participants will also be highlighted in a personalized graduate slide and a 10-12 second video.

The virtual celebration is not a substitution for the commencement ceremony. The university hopes Virtual Voices will give students, their families, and the WSSU community an immediate way to congratulate the new graduates until an in-person celebration is possible.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of the class of 2020,” said Anthony Graham, provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “We wanted to commemorate this special class of students. They have persisted through unthinkable circumstances. This virtual celebration will be a memento of their collegiate achievements for years to come.”

The received footage will be edited together to create a ceremony procession, preceded by a welcome address, and then streamed live via YouTube to create a celebratory communal event. Once the celebration is live, Virtual Voices will be available for viewing, downloading, and sharing for 18 months.

For more information about “Virtual Voices: The Class of 2020,” please visit the Virtual Voices webpage

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