The University of Wisconsin-Madison will host a weekend of events, including a ceremony at Camp Randall, to celebrate 2020 graduates whose ceremonies were virtual due to COVID-19.
The ceremony will take place on Saturday and feature student speaker CJ Zabat as well as Pat Connaughton, shooting guard for the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks.
“Having Pat as a speaker just feels fitting because he shows that success can come in even the hardest of times,” said Kayla Huynh, former communications director for the class of 2020. “It’s the perfect last hurrah, a way to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished in the past year and to finally close the chapter on our time at UW-Madison.”
Zabat, the student speaker for the ceremony, graduated in 2020 with a degree in journalism and a certificate in Afro-American studies, entertaining leadership roles in both the UW-Madison Marching Band and the tour guide program. He was also chosen to serve as drum major.
“This class of graduates has endured so much, both together and apart. It will be a very powerful moment to be back together again,” Zabat said.
According to Chris Gitter, former events director for the class of 2020, planning started in winter to ensure graduating students had a celebration despite their virtual commencement ceremony.
“It’s special that us 2020 graduates get to celebrate together, even if it’s a year and some change later,” Gitter said in an interview with The Daily Cardinal. “I think it shows that the university really cares about us that they put these resources towards us.”
According to the press release, more than 2,500 graduates have registered for Saturday’s ceremony.
The weekend-long celebration will also feature an exclusive Yung Gravy concert at the Sylvee, a night at the Terrace and a brunch at Alumni Park.