Illinois Virtual Commencement Celebration

*Music Plays* I’m Chancellor Robert Jones and it is my privilege to welcome you as we honor our Illinois graduates Commencement is the proudest day of the year here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign And while we are currently planning an in-person ceremony worthy of what our graduates deserve, we wanted to let them know just how proud we are Graduates, I know we are not celebrating today exactly the way we expected But we wanted to be the first to say congratulations before we meet in-person again So, thank you for joining us today in the first of many celebrations congratulating the extraordinary Class of 2020 For the first time in 152 years, Our halls were empty Our place of knowledge and learning stood still Our world changed Ahead, a new challenge with incredible unknowns Yet there were those wishing to do better, create better, be better And their accomplishments were not rooted in luck, but intention and innovation It’s an ideal found in the minds of those striving for more When faced with uncertainty, we were reminded that home isn’t just a place It’s the people Class of 2020, you pushed boundaries You rose to the occasion under extraordinary circumstances, and you proved that there is nothing out of your reach You’ve redefined what it means to be part of the Illinois family And we are so excited to see how far you’ll go, because we already know just how far you’ve come You are now Illinois graduates, and Illinois graduates do not accept the world as they find it

They change the world to the way they know it should be As you enter your next chapter, don’t forget about who you are and where you come from Because you are Illini And you have already changed the world To all of you in this 149th graduating class—to you, our future leaders here in this nation and around the world—congratulations on your achievements! Class of 2020, your commencement is one of historic importance You have accomplished great success while enduring something that has never been done before in the history of our university Let me repeat that in case you missed it You have done something that has never been done before The last courses you planned to take were delivered in alternative ways Your research and scholarship were put on hold You were separated from friends, colleagues and instructors by a significant distance And your strength and resiliency shined through when it mattered most The Illinois family is made up of people who rise to their very, very best So it’s no surprise that Illinois graduates force us to redefine the word “impossible” with amazing regularity This graduating class has already done exactly that So thank you for your extraordinary efforts Thank you for your patience And thank you for being part of our Illinois family On behalf of our entire university community: We are incredibly proud of you You are Illinois graduates! And Illinois graduates change the world We would like to extend our congratulations on behalf of your schools and colleges, including: The Graduate College The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences The Grainger College of Engineering The School of Information Sciences The College of Law The College of Education The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Gies College of Business The College of Media The College of Fine and Applied Arts The School of Social Work The School of Labor and Employment Relations The College of Applied Health Sciences The College of Veterinary Medicine and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine So again, congratulations to the Class of 2020! I’d now like to invite President Killeen to say a few words I am Tim Killeen, President of the University of Illinois System, and it is my honor and privilege to congratulate the Class of 2020 I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that we aren’t celebrating in person today I also can’t tell you how proud I am of the character you have shown throughout the COVID-19 crisis … your resilience, your sacrifice and the compassion that has set a standard for others to follow We will never forget you And no matter where you are today, we’re on our feet for you, applauding you, and sharing your joy in a milestone that I hope will live in your memory forever We will now move forward with the conferral of degrees Upon the recommendation of the faculty and by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, I hereby confer upon each candidate the degree for which they have been recommended, and I admit them to all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities thereto appertaining Congratulations! Hey, Illinois graduates Dick Butkus here Just wanted to congratulate you and welcome you to the Illinois alumni family I-L-L! To the Class of 2020: Congratulations! What an accomplishment And just in time I don’t know if you’ve seen the news, but those of us who graduated before you are having some trouble, so we could really use your help Please join us, find the good work that needs doing, roll up your sleeves and get to it Hats off! Congratulations, Illinois graduates We are so very proud of everything you have accomplished Welcome to the Illinois family!

I-L-L! Hi everyone! It’s Tatyanna McFadden and I wanted to wish you a happy graduation Congratulations to the Class of 2020 Welcome to the Illinois alumni family You should all be incredibly proud of yourselves because you did it Congratulations! Hi, this is Ang Lee Congratulations, Illinois graduates We are so proud of everything you have accomplished Welcome to the Illinois family! I-L-L! I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at the University of Illinois, and the people I’ve met who have impacted my life Because of the people I met at U. of I., I feel like I’m a way better person, and now I want to get better every day It’s been unbelievable to see everyone develop and grow over the years, and I’m so happy that we managed to get to this point together Because of my experience at Illinois, I’ll be a better leader I wouldn’t trade my experience here at Illinois for anything The friends I made at Illinois will always hold a place in my heart This school has changed my life I am so thankful for the professors, students and friends who have supported me Our experience at U. of I. may be over, but now our experience to change the world begins So go out there, and make a difference Graduates, you will always have a home at Illinois And we promise to be here for you whenever you may need it Whether you’re visiting Memorial Stadium on game day or listening to the Altgeld Chimes on the Main Quad, we hope to be a place you visit often And if Champaign-Urbana is out of reach, know that you can draw strength from three letters that unite our Illinois community around the world “I-L-L.” Being part of the Illinois alumni family means joining 450,000 of the world’s brightest minds and biggest hearts And no matter where you are, Illinois is always with you So, let me be the first to say: Congratulations to our newest class of Illinois graduates! We are already so proud of you And now, as we conclude, please join us as one graduating class singing “Hail to the Orange.” Hail to the Orange Hail to the Blue Hail Alma Mater Ever so true So true We love no other so let our motto be Victory Illinois Varsity Congratulations, Class of 2020! This is Larry Gies, and I’m so proud to be able to welcome each of you into the University of Illinois alumni family Don’t be a spectator in life Use your incredible Illinois education and our powerful alumni network to create meaningful change in the world I-L-L! Hi, I’m Sheila Johnson, and I’m from the Class of 1970 I just want to congratulate the Class of 2020 for getting through these really trying times I can only say to all of you: Go Illini! Congratulations on your achievements, Class of 2020 The world today is gripped by a pandemic, but it is also filled with opportunities for improvement Go forth and take full advantage of those opportunities Make the world a better place Congratulations, again I just want to say congratulations, graduates! I’m Temple Grandin, I got my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois Go Illini! Congratulations Illini Class of 2020! U of I graduates: Congratulations!

You have worked so hard, and you have accomplished so much I am thrilled to welcome you to the alumni family And lastly, three letters: I-L-L!