University of Sheffield celebrates Class of 2020 with virtual graduation

18th August 2020

Hundreds of students from the University of Sheffield celebrated their academic achievements and volunteering efforts with a virtual graduation ceremony today (Tuesday 18 August 2020).

  • Hundreds of Sheffield students praised for academic achievements and volunteering efforts as part of virtual graduation ceremony
  • Class of 2020 receive congratulations and good luck messages from notable University of Sheffield alumni  

Hundreds of students from the University of Sheffield celebrated their academic achievements and volunteering efforts with a virtual graduation ceremony today (Tuesday 18 August 2020).

The traditional graduation ceremonies scheduled to take place on campus last month were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, the Class of 2020 were able to watch the official conferment of their degrees online along with a number of congratulatory messages from notable University of Sheffield alumni including: playwright and screenwriter Ade Solanke, Bauer Media Editorial Director Lucie Cave, Doctor Who Showrunner Chris Chibnall, Head of Music at Apple UK and Ireland George Ergatoudis, and President of International Production at Sony Pictures Television Wayne Garvie. 

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Koen Lamberts, who led the virtual ceremony said:

“We cannot wait to welcome our students back on campus to celebrate their success in the traditional way, as soon as it is safe to do so. But until then, we wanted to do something special to mark their outstanding achievements made in the most difficult of circumstances.

“The pandemic hasn’t stopped our students learning or helping the community. When the NHS desperately needed help, our medical students finished their studies early so they could share their skills with doctors and nurses on the frontline. 

“International students collected spare face masks to donate to health and social care workers and helped NHS staff with childcare and food shopping so they could focus on their important work.

“I am always so proud that so many students volunteer to support our city.”

During the ceremony a short film – recorded remotely during lockdown with the help of student content creators – was screened, giving graduates a nostalgic trip down memory lane about their time in the city as fellow students shared their favourite thing about living in Sheffield.

Messages of congratulations and good luck from University staff, alumni and friends including University of Sheffield Chancellor, Dame Anne Rafferty,  were also aired.

Ade Solanke, award-winning playwright and screenwriter best known for her debut stage play, Pandora's Box, graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1984.

She told graduating students:

“We’re still dealing with the global pandemic, we’re still dealing with global protests against racism and inequality, so you’re graduating into a world in desperate need of your talents, positivity, ideas and skills. 

“The rigorous training you have received at Sheffield will really stand you in good stead as we rely on you to help us solve some of these really pressing world problems.”

Sheffield alumnus Wayne Garvie, who was responsible for developing Strictly Come Dancing and is now President of International Production at Sony Pictures Television, encouraged students to think differently about the challenges we are all facing.

“My advice is this: enjoy it,” he said.

“Go out, have adventures, go and make mistakes. Have fun around the world and make the most of the next few years because the chaos Covid has created is an opportunity for you all to think differently about the future.”   

For more information or to watch the Class of 2020 film please visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/graduation/virtual-graduation-2020

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