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Media Advisory — MIT Online Commencement Friday, May 29

Online ceremony will feature an address by Admiral William H. McRaven, a community-sourced music project, salutes from President Reif and student leaders, and celebratory surprises.
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Members of the MIT community will come together from around the world to celebrate the Class of 2020 during an online ceremony on Friday, May 29 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. This year’s guest speaker will be Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral and the former chancellor of the University of Texas system. The program will also feature a charge to the graduates by MIT President L. Rafael Reif, salutes from student leaders, a community-sourced musical collaboration created by members of the MIT community, the traditional turning of the Brass Rat (during which students flip their class rings so that the MIT beaver is sitting on top of the world), and the conferral of degrees. MIT Professor Esther Duflo, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in economics, will offer a salute to advanced degree recipients.

Additionally, graduates will be able to participate in Commencement virtually using a new augmented reality experience designed by a team of MIT students and alumni to help complement the online event. Through the MIT 2020 App, graduates will be able to build a digital avatar and then watch themselves walk down Killian Court to receive their diplomas virtually from President Reif.

While this year’s ceremony will be different than the traditional celebration held on Killian Court, MIT hopes to bring the MIT spirit into every graduate’s home until the time when community members can gather together on campus to honor the Class of 2020. An in-person event is being planned for a future date. In the meantime, as President Reif noted in a letter to the MIT community, “I promise you, we are going to reinvent these wonderful rituals to honor and celebrate with you, in the best MIT spirit, in ways that make sense in this most unusual time.”

Reporters interested in watching the ceremony will be able to view the live webcast at:


12:00 – 1:00 P.M. EDT: Pre-program show

1:00 – 2:00 P.M. EDT: Online commencement program and degree conferral

2:00 – 3:00 P.M. EDT: Welcome into the MIT Alumni Association, scroll of graduates’ names, and post-program show

2020 MIT Commencement website:

Letter regarding this year's Commencement, Doctoral Hooding, and Tech Reunion celebrations:

FAQ for Commencement 2020:

Admiral William McRaven to speak at MIT’s 2020 Commencement:

Esther Duflo PhD ’99 to offer salute to advanced degree recipients:

RSVPs and questions can be sent to

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