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May 9, 2020

Virtual Thinker? TikTok Challenge? UofL honors 2020 graduates with digital-first celebration

An image of the University of Louisville's iconic statue of Rodin's "The Thinker" is available to students for their virtual graduation celebration.

University of Louisville graduates celebrated by posting their dance moves on TikTok.

The marching band performed via videoconference.

And Rodin's iconic "The Thinker" statue appeared in students' living rooms for photo opps.

All were part of UofL's "digital-first" graduation celebration May 9.

Composed of an extensive social media campaign and launch of a special Class of 2020 website, the project is designed to complement the formal commencement ceremony, which has been delayed until December due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The site features content generated by the students themselves, as well as virtual versions of traditional commencement activities.
"We cannot be with our graduates physically, we can't throw up our L's and pose for selfies with them, but we are a Cardinal family and they are in our hearts," UofL President Neeli Bendapudi said. "We want our newly minted grads to know we share in the joy of their accomplishment. They have persevered through these uncertain times. I know this will fuel their potential to build a better world, here and beyond."
The Spring 2020 graduation celebration website includes:
  • A video message from Bendapudi, including an announcement that the university is renaming an area on campus the "2020 Quad" in recognition of the graduating class 
  • Remarks from elected officials, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Gov. Andy Beshearand Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who proclaimed May 9 "UofL Graduates 2020 Day in the City of Louisville
  • Well wishes from academic leaders, including deans of all 12 schools and colleges 
  • Virtual performances of the Cardinal fight song and "Pomp and Circumstance," as well as a video of the world-renowned Cardinal Singers performing the alma mater 
  • Graduate profiles and graduates' personal stories shared through social media 
  • An augmented reality feature in which students can take their photo with the iconic "The Thinker" statue, the original of which sits in front of UofL's administration building 
  • A TikTok dance challenge in which graduates celebrate their accomplishments by posting videos to the site 
  • Announcement that the Student Government Association is commissioning an on-campus mural in honor of the Class of 2020. 
  • An opportunity to purchase a commemorative Class of 2020 shirt
#WeAreUofL

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