On May 22, San Bernardino Valley College celebrated its graduating class of 2020 with its first-ever virtual Commencement ceremony. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person ceremony was converted to an online livestream, where graduates and their families were able to attend and interact with the ceremony from the safety of their computer or smartphone. The class of 2020 has also been invited to participate in the college’s next in-person ceremony, which is tentatively scheduled for May 2021.

The ceremony was a live video that progressed exactly like SBVC’s traditional in-person ceremony, except it could be viewed remotely on the campus website, YouTube and Facebook. The event featured greetings from President Diana Z. Rodriguez, who welcomed the students and family members that tuned into the livestream, and acknowledged the graduates’ years of dedication and hard work. “In the face of one of the most difficult global crises in recent memory, you demonstrated outstanding resilience and perseverance that will be recorded in our college’s history books for future generations to look up to and admire,” she said.

After these congratulatory messages, graduates had their names read in alphabetical order alongside their virtual cards. These cards were developed in the weeks before Commencement, where students could upload their selfies using a custom SBVC Grad filter. They could then list their name, degree or certificate, and answer a prompt, such as, “What’s next for you?” or “Who’s your biggest supporter?”  
Each virtual card was shown for four seconds, as a serenade of special music played, recorded by SBVC’s elite Voci Soli Ensemble, and edited by Dr. Robert Berry under the direction of the music department’s faculty co-chair Matie Scully.

During the ceremony, students had another way to interact and show their school spirit. The SBVC homepage at valleycollege.edu featured a Virtual Wall displaying the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts tagged with #sbvcgrad20. Throughout the event, graduates shared their cap & gown selfies, ceremony celebrations, and congratulations to the class of 2020 for all to see. 

The commemorative event reflected on the many milestones that were achieved by the college’s students, faculty, and classified professionals during the past academic year. Among the degree recipients in the class of 2020, 38 graduated with Highest Honors, or a 3.9-4.0 GPA, and 132 students graduated with Honors, or a 3.7-3.89 GPA. The majors with the most graduates this year was again in Liberal Arts, which included 233 graduates emphasizing in Biological and Physical Science, and 302 emphasizing in Social and Behavioral Science. There were also 256 students graduating with a Police, Basic Peace Officer Certificate. In total, 1787 students received 2,418 degrees and certificates, resulting in one of the largest graduating classes in the college’s 93-year history. 

The ceremony will continue to be accessible at SBVC’s Youtube or Facebook pages @sbvalleycollege, or archived at valleycollege.edu/commencement. Empire KVCR-TV will also rebroadcast the event, as determined by its broadcasting schedule at empirenetwork.org/schedule.

Congratulations, Wolverines!