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Virginia Tech to honor more than 6,000 graduates at spring commencement

Virginia Tech
(© Andriy Blokhin – stock.adobe.com)

Virginia Tech will hold in-person commencement ceremonies in Lane Stadium starting Monday and running through the following Sunday, May 16. The university plans to celebrate graduating seniors, graduate school students, and their families, while also adhering to public health guidelines.

All in-person ceremonies will be live streamed and details about attending commencement in-person can be found online.

The first of two graduate school commencement ceremonies begins today at 2 p.m., with the second one occurring Tuesday at 4 p.m. The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine will honor its graduates at 6:30 p.m. Find the complete schedule online.

The remainder of the week will include in-person ceremonies for those receiving undergraduate degrees from both the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020.

On Friday, the university will hold a virtual commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. ET with the pre-ceremony beginning at 6:15 p.m. to honor the Class of 2021.

The virtual ceremony will include remarks from a keynote speaker, as well as messages from students.

Joseph Kozak, who is receiving his doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering, is the Graduate School student speaker.

Kozak is the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year, recognizing him for his character, service, and academic achievements. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests revolve around making systems smaller and more efficient.

Class of 2021 president Grant Bommer will also offer a message to fellow graduates during the virtual ceremony. Bommer is receiving a bachelor’s degree in business and finance.

Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, was announced as the university’s commencement keynote speaker last month. Collins has been a prominent figure in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is the only presidentially appointed NIH director to serve more than one administration.

Virginia Tech will honor 47 associate degree candidates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a total of 5,554 bachelor’s degree candidates from all colleges throughout the week.

This year, 3,127 graduating Hokies completed their baccalaureate degree programs with honors, having achieved cumulative grade-point averages of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.

Business information technology tops the list of most popular majors among this year’s graduating seniors, followed by mechanical engineering; computer science; human nutrition, foods and exercise; and biology.

Here’s a look at the number of bachelor’s degrees being awarded from each college.

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 571
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies: 360
  • Pamplin College of Business: 1,089
  • College of Engineering: 1,789
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences: 1,012
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment: 224
  • College of Science: 888

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is recognizing 217 graduates from its program. Of those, 156 will be entering service in the military as commissioned officers — 65 in the U.S. Army, 48 in the U.S Air Force, 36 in the U.S. Navy, and seven in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Here’s a look at the number of graduate degrees being awarded.

  • D’s: 244 in Blacksburg; 21 in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area
  • D’s: 24 in Blacksburg; 2 in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area
  • Master’s degrees: 724 in Blacksburg; 115 in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area
  • Education specialists: 6 in Blacksburg; 1 in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area
  • Advanced Graduate Certificates: 153 in Blacksburg; 1 in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine plans to hand out a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree to 128 recipients. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine honored its class of 38 graduates at a ceremony on May 8 in Roanoke.

In addition, Virginia Tech will be hosting eight different cultural achievement ceremonies throughout the week. Those include Aliyah (a celebration of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students); American Indian and Indigenous (for Native students); APIDA (for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American students); Donning of the Kente (for those of African-American heritage); Gesta Latina (for student of Hispanic or Latino descent); Disabilities Achievement; Lavender (for LGBTQ+ graduates); and Muslim (for graduates who practice Islam).

“This year, much like last year, we will be celebrating our graduating seniors through a video tribute which will feature faculty, staff, and students sharing congratulatory messages, a keynote by Dean DePauw [dean of Graduate Education], and photos of the graduates,” said Ashleigh “Bing” Bingham, the director of the LBGTQ+ Resource Center. “We’re excited to celebrate our queer class of 2021 with music, well wishes, and some thoughtful remarks on how we as a community can move forward in a world that challenges LGBTQ+ folks, but hopefully also changes with them.”

Melissa Faircloth, the director of the American Indian and Indigenous Community Center at Virginia Tech, shared similar sentiments.

“We are really happy to celebrate this milestone with graduates,” Faircloth said. “Not only have they achieved such an amazing accomplishment, but they did it during the most trying times, which speaks to their resilience.”

Visit this page for a complete listing of those ceremonies and more information, including sign-up registration forms.

For those with questions or more information about commencement, visit vt.edu/commencement.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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