UofG celebrates with the Class of 2020

Published: 29 June 2020

The University of Glasgow today begins a week of online celebrations for the Class of 2020 after it had to postpone graduation ceremonies on campus due to Covid-19.

An aerial shot of a large group of people forming UofG in the quadrangle

The University of Glasgow today launches a week of online celebrations for the Class of 2020 after it had to postpone graduation ceremonies on campus due to Covid-19.

The University will hold physical ceremonies at a later time once lockdown restrictions are eased but still wanted to ensure students and their families got a chance to mark this important milestone in their lives.

And students will still be able to enjoy elements of the traditions associated with a graduation event across the University’s social media channels including singing by the University Chapel Choir and congratulatory speeches.

The celebrations kick-started with a heartfelt speech to the Class of 2020 by Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, the University’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, who said: “In different circumstances we would be gathering with your classmates, with your families and loved ones to celebrate and honour your achievements and your success. But, as you know, these are exceptional circumstances which makes you exceptional graduates.

“I recognise that the last few months will have been tough for so many of you in so many difference ways. But under the most enormous pressure you’ve adapted, you’ve remained focused and you’ve delivered. You’ve shown resilience and demonstrated true grit.”

He added: “Class of 2020 congratulations in all that you have achieved. Be proud and celebrate your success. Each of you is a world changer, I know it, your friends know it, and your families know it. Now it is time for you to let the world know it too.”


The University’s first female Chancellor, who was to have presided over her first set of Glasgow graduations this summer - Dame Katherine Grainger - offered her congratulations and said in a video due to be released today: “I am so sorry we can’t all be together to celebrate this special day. You can’t have the day you originally planned. But let’s focus on what you can do. You can be immensely proud of everything that’s got you to this point today. You can be incredibly relieved that most of the work is now behind you – the exams, the deadlines, the essays. You made it through. And you can be hugely grateful to those who helped get you though as well – your family members, your friends, your partners, the staff at the University, your lecturers. Nobody does this alone."

The five-time Olympic medallist added: “And you should be very excited about whatever comes next, about the future you are about to enter. The world is still a wonderful place, now it’s very different right now than anything we would have predicted when you started this degree. It’s a world of uncertainty, it’s a world of change, it’s a world of fear and it’s a world of challenge. But that also means it’s a world of opportunity and believe me it’s a world that needs you much more than it’s ever need you before.”


One part of the graduation traditions of the University is the Latin hymn Gaudeamus Igitur meaning So Let Us Rejoice. This hymn is normally used at many graduation ceremonies around the world. For 2020, using UofG’s social media channels the Chapel choir crowd sourced grandaunds, some of their family members, alumni and staff to create a special virtual version.

University of Glasgow Chapel Choir’s Director of Music Katy Lavinia Cooper, said: “Gaudeamus Igitur is sung at the beginning of every graduation ceremony at the University of Glasgow. We were so pleased that so many people joined in our idea for a virtual performance, to celebrate the achievements of the graduands of 2020. For Chapel Choir, this year in particular marks the final year for quite a number of our longest-serving singers, so if felt even more important that we should do something for them, and all their fellow graduands. We were really delighted that final year students, members of their families, members of University Staff and the wider community were able to contribute - and they sound great!"


This isn’t the first time in the University 569 year history that it has faced crisis or difficult situations.

In the later part of 1645-6, the University left Glasgow and moved all its classes to Irvine due to the plague and from Irvine it moved to Paisley, only returning to its then High Street location more than three years later. And more recently, ahead of the First World War in 1914, the University brought forward all its graduations to allow students who had enlisted to graduate before going to fight in the Great War.

You can follow #UofGgrad20 celebrations on the university social media channels @UofGlasgow or www.gla.ac.uk/grad20

Details of the University Chapel Choir can be found on www.chapelchoir.org/virtual-choir.html

First published: 29 June 2020

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