UC Merced will host its second virtual ceremony for the Fall 2020 Commencement on Dec. 19, with a host of changes meant to confer upon students the distinct importance of the achievement.
New this time: Each of the three schools — Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts; Natural Sciences; and Engineering — will have their own ceremonies broadcast simultaneously, complete with closed captioning in English and Spanish. Students will be individually recognized on screen with the option to customize a slide with their photograph and a quote.
“Although we can’t be together to honor our graduates, we’re still doing everything we can to make the day memorable. We want students to be individually recognized for this important accomplishment in their lives,” said Vice Chancellor of External Relations Edward Klotzbier.
More than 550 bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. graduates have received grad boxes in the mail with commencement and alumni swag including a cap and tassel, diploma cover, alumni license plate frame and lapel pin, business socks and a letter from the chancellor.
Per tradition, there will be a student singer, student speaker from the graduating class and a keynote address.
Carlin Coleman, an Environmental Engineering major from Sacramento, was selected as this year’s commencement student singer. Coleman leaves her mark as a student leader of the National Society of Black Engineers and helping achieve campus’s carbon neutrality goal as the Green Offices Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. Singing allows Coleman to express herself and is a way she can give back to UC Merced, a place she felt at home.
This year Xiaolong “Harry” Chen will address fellow graduates and other virtual viewers, speaking about his four years at UC Merced where he earned bachelor’s degrees in applied mathematics and physics. Chen, 23, who hails from Shanghai, spent those years embracing opportunities and paying it forward as a mentor and tutor to other students.
Alumnus Ish Verduzco, 28, will give the keynote address, recalling how the small but growing campus was ripe with opportunity for a young Los Angeles native when he arrived in fall 2010.
“I felt this energy of newness,” Verduzco told UC Merced. “It was somewhere that I could do anything I want. That I could be anybody I wanted to be.”
Verduzco, like many Bobcats, was a first-generation college student and earned a bachelor’s degree in management. Verduzco is director of growth and marketing at Crave It, a startup app for foodies that feeds on social buzz about local tastes and appetites. Prior to that he had roles at LinkedIn and Snap, Inc.
The Fall 2020 Commencement begins at 10 a.m. and can be accessed here.
Graduates: Show your support on social media with the hashtag #UCM2020.