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UNC’s Class of 2020, thwarted by pandemic, will finally get a graduation event this fall

Kate Murphy
·2 min read

UNC-Chapel Hill will host a special reunion and commencement weekend next fall for the Class of 2020 to make up for a tradition that was lost due to the coronavirus pandemic last year.

This celebration, scheduled for Oct. 9-10, is another sign that Carolina students will have a more normal campus experience next fall. Alumni and their families will be able to attend the event, which will include a tassel-turning ceremony at Kenan Stadium, the university announced Friday.

“This celebration weekend will be memorable and fitting of your special status and the sacrifices you made during your senior year … and beyond,” UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a campus message.

As a parent of a 2020 graduate himself, Guskiewicz said he understands the desire to celebrate this moment and wanted to give students the recognition they asked for.

As state and national COVID-19 trends continue to improve and more people are getting vaccinated, UNC-CH also announced Friday that it expects to host fully in-person classes and have more students living in dorms on campus for the fall semester. There will likely still be face masks, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine and isolation space on campus.

University employees are eligible for vaccines, and many students can get vaccinated this spring.

Guskiewicz made clear the commencement event isn’t a typical homecoming weekend for multiple UNC classes, though it is a Tar Heel football weekend.

UNC will offer exclusive events for the Class of 2020, including special recognition during the game against Florida State, the traditional Bell Tower climb, a “Taste of Chapel Hill” food truck party and the UNC General Alumni Association’s champagne toast.

The weekend will end with a tassel-turning ceremony at Kenan Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 10.

UNC is also planning an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 in May at Kenan Stadium. It will feature virtual commencement speakers and COVID-19 experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a Carolina alumna.