It looks like the class of 2020 will have a graduation ceremony after all. Students were forced to leave school and study remotely for the remainder of the year because of the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, graduations across the nation have been canceled, leaving graduating seniors devastated by the news. Fortunately, Facebook swooped in to save their big day.
Facebook Watch will stream a live graduation ceremony with media executive Oprah Winfrey delivering the commencement speech. Other celebrities such as Lil Nas X, Jennifer Garner, Simone Biles, and Awkwafina are also set to speak. Miley Cyrus will perform her hit song “The Climb.” The multi-hour live event is scheduled to begin on May 15 at 2 p.m. EST.
The upcoming graduates will be celebrating their big day nearly every day leading up to the event. Senior-related content, including student showcases, senior superlative templates, and Instagram stickers that link to graduation songs, will go live on Facebook until the day of the ceremony. The social media platform will use the event to promote its new virtual hangout, Messenger Rooms.
It’s no surprise that Winfrey will serve as the nation’s commencement speaker, thanks to her involvement over the years in education. Winfrey donated $12 million to Morehouse College in 1989 to launch the Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund. She returned 30 years later, in 2019, to celebrate the scholars program and surprised the institution by donating an additional $13 million to continue the fund. Morehouse, the nation’s largest liberal arts institution for men, received a total of $25 million from the talk show host, making her investment the largest endowment for a scholarship in the college’s history. In 2007, she launched her boarding school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, to provide world-class education to previously disadvantaged girls in Africa.