May 11, 2020

Purdue releases on-demand commencement, celebrates graduates amid global pandemic

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s newest graduates will hear their names called, watch President Mitch Daniels deliver words of encouragement in his annual commencement address, and even listen to gleeful music.

No, it won’t be in person. Instead, it is on-demand – a way for Purdue’s approximately 7,500 spring 2020 graduates to experience the joys and share it with their loved ones

Creating a memorable experience during this difficult time has been the goal of Purdue officials ever since announcing in March that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person ceremonies would not take place (take a look behind the scenes VIDEO HERE and making of commencement photo gallery).

daniels-commencement Purdue President Mitch Daniels celebrates the annual commencement ceremonies and its numerous traditions, including receiving paper airplanes from students. Purdue provided an on-demand ceremony for graduates and their families and friends to watch at their convenience. Download image

May 2020 graduates have received a special “commencement in a box” that includes a diploma cover, the commencement program, any earned honors cords and medals, and some Boilermaker goodies. The box also includes information on how to download their own ceremony, which they can watch with their families at a time that works for them. Diplomas will be mailed to the graduates.

Graduates also received directions to Purdue’s Commencement 2020 website. The site contains information, links and videos to numerous aspects for graduates and families to celebrate the momentous journey. Items that can be accessed on the site are digital downloads of signs and banners, digital wallpapers and filters, and live social media feeds. The on-demand commencement videos are listed by each division and include special messages from the deans of Purdue’s colleges.
e-patel Eesha Patel, the student responder for the Division IV ceremony, delivers her remarks. Patel is an Honors College graduate and will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management Download image

“Many individuals and groups have come together to produce and provide this on-demand commencement,” said Chris Pass, senior assistant registrar for academic records, commencement and graduation. “We have produced a good alternative to an in-person commencement that the graduates, their families and friends will enjoy.”

Per usual, there are six ceremonies, each keynoted by Daniels. The ceremonies are:

• Division I – Graduate School (all schools and colleges).

• Division II – The colleges of Liberal Arts and Science.

• Division III – The colleges of Education, Health and Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine.

• Division IV – Krannert School of Management and Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

virtual-wall Students and families can access Purdue's on-demand commencement through a special Commencement 2020 website. The site includes videos of the ceremonies and downloadable items such as signs and images. Download image
  • Division V – The colleges of Agriculture, Engineering (Agricultural & Biological, Materials, Mechanical), and Pharmacy.
  • Division VI – The College of Engineering (Aeronautics and Astronautics, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Construction, Electrical and Computer, Environmental and Ecological, Industrial, Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Nuclear).

The spring 2020 graduating class includes 5,394 undergraduates, 1,780 graduate students, 235 students from the professional programs, and 141 from Purdue Polytechnic’s statewide programs.

Each undergraduate division will feature a student responder.

Each student will have their name called and receive their diploma. Graduates are encouraged to take photos of themselves and their families watching the ceremony or afterward and post to social media using the #PurdueWeDidIt hashtag.

Purdue’s College of Pharmacy celebrated graduation earlier by receiving permission to graduate 142 pharmacy students on April 17 as a way to provide additional support to pharmacies during the pandemic. The students became eligible to work as graduate pharmacists until they are fully licensed.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Related links:

Purdue announces student responders for commencements (May 6, 2020)

Purdue’s Class of 2020 to receive special delivery commencement (April 29, 2020)

Top students to be recognized during 2020 commencement (April 28, 2020)

Pharmacy students to graduate early in preparation for future COVID-19 impact (April 9, 2020)

Purdue to pioneer on-demand commencement for Class of 2020 (March 26, 2020)

Purdue announces virtual commencement with future in-person option (March 17, 2020)

Purdue University Global commencement to include first-of-its kind virtual reality component (February 24, 2020)

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell),, @mo_oates

Source: Christine DeHahan Pass, senior assistant registrar,

Note to Journalists: Photos of Purdue President Mitch Daniels and other May 2020 commencement participants are available on a Google Drive. Student responders, several graduating students and Chris Pass, senior assistant registrar, are available for interviews via phone or web-based conference services.

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