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School to celebrate and honor MSW and Ph.D. graduates in virtual commencement

The UNC School of Social Work will honor and celebrate its 2021 graduating class of MSW and Ph.D. students in a virtual commencement ceremony on May 13, 2021. The School will present the ceremony via YouTube, beginning at 6 p.m. A live virtual reception will follow the graduation ceremony.

This is the second year the School has hosted its graduation virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to celebrate commencement remotely involved lots of input from students, faculty and staff, explained Lisa de Saxe Zerden, the School’s senior associate dean for MSW Education. University guidelines and public health protocols were also considered.

To help create a more personalized event this year, the School is partnering with a vendor to tailor the ceremony with photos and memories from all participating graduates. Each graduate will also have their name read aloud in the virtual hooding ceremony roll call, Zerden said. The vendor will also offer slides, unique video clips, School and regalia filters to use on social media, and digital invitations to share with guests.

Faculty and staff have worked hard to ensure the commencement is a memorable event, Zerden added.

“We are immensely proud of our graduates’ perseverance, tenacity and efforts to complete their studies even in the midst of COVID-19, and we’re really excited to celebrate with them and their loved ones in May,” she said. “Despite the changes in how we’re acknowledging this milestone, we know the celebration will be very meaningful.”