Carnegie Mellon University
May 11, 2020

CMU To Celebrate Virtual Conferral of Degrees May 17

By Heidi Opdyke

Julie Mattera
  • Marketing & Communications
  • 412-268-2902
Jason Maderer
  • Marketing & Communications
  • 412-268-1151

Carnegie Mellon University will be hosting an online program to confer more than 5,400 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to the Class of 2020 at 10 a.m. ET on May 17, 2020.

CMU is committed to bringing the Class of 2020 together for an in-person Commencement on the Pittsburgh campus at a later date, but this virtual celebration will celebrate the achievements of our graduates at the time they complete their academic degrees.

President Farnam Jahanian, the CMU deans and a host of VIPs have planned a unique and memorable event to mark the occasion. During a packed 30-minute program, CMU will honor graduates and their incredible accomplishments.

As the CMU community comes together in new ways, the online program will mark the first time that CMU will confer degrees on the entire cohort of graduates at the same time around the world.

"I am delighted to be conferring degrees on the outstanding cohort of graduates from the Class of 2020," said President Jahanian. "None of us expected our graduates' last semester at CMU to play out like this, but at every step, they have inspired us with their positive attitude and resiliency at this unprecedented time. The entire CMU community is excited to come together and pay tribute to their achievements, together with their families, loved ones and supporters."


Seniors Rosie Zhang, Anthony Attipoe, Abbey Mui and the rest of the Class of 2020 have put their hearts into Carnegie Mellon each and every day. Join us as we celebrate all their accomplishments with a Virtual Conferral of Degrees on May 17.

Ana Torubara, a senior in social and decisions sciences, said that as disappointing as it is to not be able to gather as a class, she was glad that there is still a virtual way to celebrate. Torubara will be one of two student speakers delivering messages during the virtual conferral.

"I hope people feel a sense of strength that will empower them to persevere through the difficult times we're living in," Torubara said. "But I also hope people take a moment to step back and appreciate all the positivity that exists too."

She said perseverance and resilience helped the Class of 2020 to make it to graduation, and it's a strength that they'll be able to carry with them.

"Inevitably, one day you will encounter something that is not so easy," Torubara said. "It is at that critical point you have to decide if you will rise up to the challenge or give up."

Shannon Gallagher is wrapping up her Ph.D. in statistics and data science. She previously earned a master's degree in statistics and a bachelor's degree mathematical sciences as a Tartan.

"I spent a decade at Carnegie Mellon University, and I can say truly that I have met the most amazing people in the world here," Gallagher said. "I hope graduates and their families get a sense of joy of being part of such a wonderful community.

"I am glad we are celebrating because it is important to highlight the accomplishments of the talented CMU students, even when, or especially when, we face difficult circumstances."

Family and friends are invited to watch the degree conferral together and to share experiences on social media platforms with the hashtags #CMUgrad and #TartanProud.

The ceremony will be streamed at and will include some surprise visits. After the ceremony concludes, the link will remain active for viewing.

— Celebrating Graduates —

Throughout the year, CMU seniors and graduate students have been featured in stories. Here's some of this year's graduating class.

Computer science senior Yiwen Yuan's research has focused on food insecurity and she works in partnership with local organization 412 Food Rescue.

Lavonca Davis
Lavonca Davis, a graduating senior in 
chemical engineering and computer science, describes her four years at Carnegie Mellon as sometimes stressful, often exciting, and always ever-changing.

Emery Noll is graduating with a double major in biological sciences and psychology. As a member of the women's soccer team, she played in her native North Carolina in the final four of the NCAA Division III National Championship.

Renata Yerzhanova
New York native Renata Yerzhanova and senior 
chemistry major helped keep Spring Carnival's spirit alive.

Physics senior Fred Dauphin came to CMU to study astrophysics. "We are living in the most exciting time to do research in astrophysics," he said. "There is so much to be discovered, and with the many advancements in technology to make those discoveries, the possibilities are boundless."

During "Into the Woods," a cape was a key part of a quick change costume to transform senior drama student Cate Hayman from an ugly witch to a beautiful sorceress. Image by Louis Stein

Ben Klingensmith
Senior Ben Klingensmith received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to examine data on the state’s county jails.

Michael Lohmeier
CMU senior and Tartan defensive end Michael Lohmeier invested his time well, and it is paying dividends. Lohmeier was one of 12 finalists for the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame's 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Mazda.

Vinay Mitta
Vinay Mitta, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in robotics spent last summer researching dynamic obstacle clearance behaviors for legged robotics for Aaron Johnson's Robomechanics Lab in the College of Engineering. Mitta also spent time on the water as president and men’s varsity captain of the rowing club.

For Gino Mollica driving an ambulance is a lot like time management and balancing responsibilities: You may not be able to have two hands on the wheel, but you have your eye on everything.

This year's Luna Gala producers were Michael Powell, a fifth-year student in architecture, and Ugnė Žiaušytė, a senior in biological sciences.

John Mangual
John Mangual grew up watching his mother limp, which lead to him studying unpowered exoskeletons.

CMU students Joanna Baranowski, who graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering this spring and her master's degree this winter, and Ian Suzuki, a senior in mechanical engineering, discuss their work on goalie helmets during internships at Covestro.

Jamie Slomka
Jamie Slomka, a senior in policy and management and decision science, shared her work on the psychology of internet searches during last summer's Speak Up! conference. She won first place.
Ivan Zhang
Ivan Zhang takes global citizenship seriously. The senior physics major at Carnegie Mellon who calls Pittsburgh home was born in China and spent the majority of his teenage years in Indonesia and Uganda.

— #CMUGrad #TartanProud —

Share your party plans using #CMUgrad and #TartanProud on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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