Barack and Michelle Obama will deliver a number of virtual commencement addresses to the class of 2020, as schools have adjusted, postponed or canceled their in-person graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The former president and first lady announced their upcoming commitments on social media Tuesday.
“I know that none of you imagined you would be closing this chapter of your life through a computer or phone screen,” Michelle Obama wrote in an Instagram post addressing graduating seniors. “But I still want to make sure you still get the celebration you deserve.”
The “Becoming” author noted that she is teaming up with YouTube via her education-focused Reach Higher initiative to host a virtual graduation ceremony for all graduates ― high school, college and other programs ― on June 6 at 3 p.m. ET. She named Barack Obama as one of the event’s special guest speakers. Other speakers include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
“We want to do this right for all of you, so I’ll be inviting some very special guests ― including @BarackObama ― to help ring in this momentous day,” Michelle Obama added.
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To the #Classof2020, I know how hard you all have worked to make it to graduation. You’ve put in long hours studying. You’ve thrown yourself into extracurricular activities and after-school jobs. And you’ve done everything you can to be there for your friends through it all. Some of you will be the first in your families to graduate from high school or college, making this occasion all the more special. And I know that none of you imagined you would be closing this chapter of your life through a computer or phone screen. But I still want to make sure you still get the celebration you deserve. That’s why, through my @reachhigher Initiative, I’m working with @youtube Originals to host a special virtual graduation for you on June 6th. Whether you’re graduating from high school, college, or any other kind of school––we want you, your family, and all of your loved ones to be a part of this celebration. And we want to do this right for all of you, so I’ll be inviting some very special guests—including @BarackObama—to help ring in this momentous day. RSVP here bit.ly/RHGraduation and then tune in on June 6th at yt.be/classof2020. #ReachHigher
The former president tweeted on Tuesday to share in the excitement about the upcoming virtual commencements. Graduating seniors have called on the Obamas to deliver virtual addresses for weeks.
Barack Obama listed his two other scheduled virtual graduation speaking engagements ― an event hosted by LeBron James’ foundation and a celebration for graduates of historically Black colleges and universities, titled “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” which is slated to livestream on the official Twitter account of Chase Bank.
Both events are set to take place on May 16.
“I’ve always loved joining commencements –– the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice,” Barack Obama tweeted on Tuesday. “Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones.”
I’ve always loved joining commencements––the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones. pic.twitter.com/ngR2ykx3A2— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 5, 2020
James celebrated Obama’s participation in his event for high school seniors titled “Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020,” which will be hosted by the LeBron James Family Foundation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and XQ Institute.
“Class of 2020, I told you guys we are working on something special and we have an incredible update…THE GOAT @BarackObama!!!” the Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted on Tuesday.
“Graduate Together” will be streamed online and air simultaneously across TV networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, a press release stated.
Class of 2020, I told you guys we are working on something special and we have an incredible update…THE GOAT @BarackObama!!! You all worked so hard the past four years and deserve the best commencement we can bring to you and your family. 🙏🏾 May 16🔥🔥🔥 @GradTogether pic.twitter.com/kQeX6sK9Ml— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 5, 2020