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YouTube on Tuesday announced Dear Class of 2020, a virtual commencement celebration honoring high school and college seniors whose graduation ceremonies were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The multi-hour live-stream event, set to premiere June 6 on YouTube, will bring together inspirational leaders, stars and creators. Headliners are former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, who will each deliver commencement speeches — as well as a joint message — to this year’s graduates. Additionally, Michelle Obama’s Higher Reach initiative will host a full hour of content to kick off the celebration.
Additional commencement speakers include BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Malala Yousafzai. BTS and others will perform at a virtual grad night afterparty.
Dear Class of 2020 will also include appearances from Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya and YouTube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Mr. Kate and The Try Guys.
“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube, said in a statement. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”
YouTube’s announcement comes after other companies have shared adapted graduation plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement speech at Facebook’s live-stream event on May 15, while other notable names — including Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles — are also set to speak.
Her Campus — the female-focused company that owns Spoon University, College Fashionista and InfluenceHer Collective — on Monday shared that it is organizing I’m Still Graduating, an online graduation ceremony, to take place May 15 at 12 p.m. ET. Eva Longoria, Radhika Jones, Margaret Cho, Brooke Baldwin, Liam Payne, Jesse McCartney, Andrew Yang and Tamron Hall are set to speak at the ceremony, which will feature speeches, toasts and performances.
Elsewhere, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Fallon, John Legend and a dozen others are recording speeches specifically for seniors who are missing their graduation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their orations will be available May 15 as part of the iHeart podcast special Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020.
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