May 3 Virtual Commencement Updates

April 17, 2020

Dear Ohio State students,

I hope you, your family and loved ones are doing well, and you have settled into the virtual learning format. I continue to be just so impressed with the resilience and spirit of the Buckeye community.

As a follow-up to my last message, I wanted to reach out and share some general commencement updates with you. As you know, the university will recognize your achievements at a virtual celebration on May 3. We are excited to welcome Apple CEO Tim Cook as the commencement speaker. This event does not replace an in-person recognition in the future for the Class of 2020. We look forward to celebrating in person when it’s safe to be together. Thank you to so many of you for sharing your suggestions for the future event. Please continue to reach out and share your ideas.

Many of you have also shared questions about the virtual commencement on May 3. Here are some general updates based on recent questions we have received, and please check for updates and new information as it is available.

View the virtual celebration

You can view the virtual ceremony by livestream beginning at 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 3. It will also be broadcast live on television, and we will share details when available. We estimate that the ceremony will last approximately one hour. There is no registration process, and you can share the link with friends, family and other loved ones. Likewise, there is no requirement to participate…but we hope you do!

Caps and gowns

Although caps and gowns are not required for the virtual commencement, Barnes & Noble has created a custom website to provide regalia to those who are interested in purchasing them. You may have received a link from your college or program, but as a reminder, you can order your regalia and accessories at for direct shipment to your home. Please note that, due to slower than normal delivery times, to guarantee delivery by May 3, all orders must be placed by tomorrow, April 18. All orders are non-returnable. Bachelor’s and master’s regalia are not available for rental. 

Share your celebration

You can join in the celebration leading up to and during the virtual ceremony on May 3! Use #OSUGrad on social media to share how you’re celebrating this accomplishment. Whether you’re wearing your cap and gown or sharing this moment with those who supported you through your academic journey, we want to see how you are marking this occasion. Those who share may be featured as part of the May 3 celebration. Stay tuned for more details.

Diplomas and honors cords

While your degrees will be conferred on May 3, many of you have asked when you will receive your diplomas. Since Ohio is under a stay-at-home order, we are unable to coordinate the mailing of diplomas and honors cords until it is safe for university personnel to return to campus. Please know we have every desire to mail your diplomas as soon as possible. We will make it a priority when we return to campus and will keep you updated through the commencement website.

Finally, thank you so much for your patience and flexibility. I am so proud of our spring Class of 2020, and I look forward to “seeing” you on May 3.

Good luck with the rest of your semester. Go Bucks!

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD 
Senior Vice President for Student Life 
The Ohio State University