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College to Hold Virtual Celebration of Graduates on May 21

May 5, 2020

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange will recognize its #SOClassof2020 with an online Virtual Celebration of Graduates event planned for 4 p.m., Thursday, May 21. The College’s in-person Commencement ceremony that was originally scheduled for that day has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virtual Celebration of Graduates will include messages to the graduates from Fred Watson, chair of the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees, and Dr. Kristine Young, College president. In addition, the graduates’ names will scroll online. The event will be streamed on the SUNY Orange Facebook page at 4 p.m. and will be reposted to the College’s YouTube channel.

A hallmark of each SUNY Orange Commencement exercise is the student recessional. College employees depart the ceremony prior to the graduates and create a cordon that rings the Alumni Green. As graduates recess through that cordon, they are serenaded with a rousing and continuous round of applause from the faculty and staff in tribute to their accomplishment. A video compilation of College employees clapping for the Class of 2020 will conclude the Virtual Celebration of Graduates online event.

“We know we cannot replicate the treasured Commencement experience online, and we are not trying to,” Young said, indicating that the College is looking at when might be a proper time to hold an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. “But we don’t want that May 21 date to pass without the College properly recognizing what our graduates have achieved. Despite all of the upheaval caused by COVID-19, at least in this fashion, we can say, ‘Well done, congratulations,” and send them off knowing that we appreciate them and are proud of them.”

In the run-up to the event, the College’s social media platforms will share messages of congratulations and student successes, culminating in an interactive social media wall that will stream posts from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that feature the hashtag #SOClassof2020.

Employees, alumni, graduates, family members and community members are invited to engage with each other via social media during the event. Congratulatory video messages (from 5 to 15 seconds) can be submitted to photos@sunyorange.edu for use across the College’s social media platforms prior to the event, or can be shared via social media during the event by using #SOClassof2020. All congratulatory messages and social media posts related to the Virtual Celebration of Graduates from May 20-22 that include the hashtag #SOClassof2020 will be eligible to appear on the SUNY Orange social media wall during the celebration. As the celebration is playing live on Facebook, viewers will also have the opportunity to participate in real time via the comment window.

The SUNY Orange Foundation will be collecting messages (longer or more detailed than typical social media posts) on a Kudoboard for graduates to see. Following the Virtual Celebration of Graduates, the Foundation hopes to collate these messages into a keepsake that will be sent to graduates. Alumni, donors and others are welcome to participate. Messages can be posted to Kudoboard by emailing Jen D'Andrea, Director of Alumni Engagement, at jenniferdandrea@sunyorange.edu, visiting the Foundation's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sunyorangefoundationandalumni or from the Foundation's website at www.sunyorangefoundation.org.