YouTube Announces Virtual Commencement Featuring Speeches From President Obama, Lady Gaga, & More!

By: May. 05, 2020
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YouTube Announces Virtual Commencement Featuring Speeches From President Obama, Lady Gaga, & More!

With students around the world turning to Youtube to share their disappointment about missed high school and college graduations, Youtube today announced "Dear Class of 2020," a virtual commencement celebration bringing together inspirational leaders, celebrities and creators to celebrate graduates, their families, and their communities. This multi-hour event premieres Saturday, June 6 on YouTube.

"Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, Youtube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement," said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. "We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here."

Headlining Youtube Originals "Dear Class of 2020" are President and Mrs. Obama who will each deliver inspirational commencement speeches - as well as a joint heartfelt message - to this year's graduates. Additionally, Mrs. Obama's Reach Higher initiative will host a full hour of content and kicking-off this celebration.

Additional commencement speakers include BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Malala Yousafzai. BTS and others will perform at a virtual grad night afterparty. "Dear Class of 2020" will also include special appearances from Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya, Youtube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Zane Hijazi, Heath Hussar, Mr. Kate, and The Try Guys.

In "Dear Class of 2020," people from around the world will join the class of 2020 as a singular community to celebrate their resilience, and the endless possibilities of their future. This festival-style line up combines classic commencement day themes with a diverse array of entertainment that will capture all of the emotions of graduation including pride, hope, optimism, and camaraderie.

YouTube is working in partnership with Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative, BORN THIS WAY Foundation, Malala Fund, TODAY, and Ideas United to showcase incredible student stories and feature graduates around the world, including a crowd-sourced commencement speech. The special will be produced by Done + Dusted.

"Dear Class of 2020" can be streamed on the YouTube Originals channel and the Learn@Home site. The full schedule of commencement events will be available on the Learn@Home site beginning on May 17. Graduates can also set a reminder for the show and sign their name on the 'Dear Class of 2020' Shout Out Board at yt.be/dearclassof2020.

Graduates will also be able to connect with classmates and loved ones while they watch with Google Meet, a premium, secure video meetings product, which is now available for free to anyone with an email address. Viewers can find Meet on the web at meet.google.com and if using Gmail or Google Calendar, can easily start or join from there, too.

"Dear Class of 2020" is part of the new slate of Youtube Originals aimed to support, entertain and educate viewers around the world during this global pandemic and encourage the world to stay home and save lives through the platform's At Home #WithMe Campaign. Among the new learning focused projects, celebrities and educators come together to energize distance learning in "Celebrity Substitute" which launches on May 7 and includes newly announced episodes like Bill Nye taking viewers through the theory of Evolution, Art Classes with Terry Crews, Camila Mendes on Psychology, and Janelle Monae with a Social Studies lesson.

This news also comes on the heels of Google's Teacher Appreciation Week efforts beginning this week. To show gratitude for teachers everywhere, Google unveiled a Doodle designed in collaboration with the 2020 Teachers of the Year, shared a new moment in search film thanking teachers, released a new version of their Teach from Home site with tips and tools on distance learning for teachers and families, announced a $2 million Google.org grant to DonorsChoose and more.

Susanne Daniels is Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. Nadine Zylstra, Head of Learning for Youtube Originals along with Danny Zaccagnino, Laurel Stier, Lauren Vrazilek, and Zoe Di Stefano on the Learning Development team will oversee the project.



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