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McMaster Engineering fetes grads with unique virtual celebrationJune 30, 2020

On June 26, over 300 students, staff and faculty took part in the Faculty of Engineering’s virtual celebration for the Class of 2020.

Last spring, McMaster University made the decision to delay all Convocation ceremonies due to COVID-19.  The Faculty-organized virtual party was designed to give students the chance to celebrate without the formal ceremony.

The half-hour video celebration featured 45 video messages from faculty, alumni, graduates and special guests that included Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas MP Filomena Tassi, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Whether you’re using your technical skills to help communities, mentoring future engineering students, starting companies or creating new N95 mask designs, you have the power to make a difference,” said Trudeau. “And now more than ever we need your skills and your passion.”

Since the main event premiered on YouTube this past Friday, it has received more than 1500 views.

Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering, delivered a message of hope to graduates.

"There is a lot of work to be done to rebuild our communities and to regain trust within society," Puri said during his address. " But I think each of you are ideally equipped to bring change to our world, and to face hardships and despair with hope and agency. You are engineers, technologists and computer scientists who can meet challenges head on using innovation, empathy and problem-solving skills I have complete faith that Class of 2020 will rise above and succeed. We can’t wait to see what you do next."

The hosts of the video celebration were valedictorians, Lacey Wice, mechanical engineering & society grad and Vincent Popovich, materials sciences and engineering and society grad.

The duo carried an Oscars-style performance throughout, complete with an opening monologue and words of encouragement for their fellow graduates. 

“Though this isn’t exactly how I would picture today to look it doesn’t change the fact that I’m so honoured to be graduating alongside some of the most compassionate, inspiring and creative people I’ve ever met,” said Wice.

Other highlights of the Main Event were musical performances from current students. 

Michael Jobity, a talented musician and McMaster Engineering Physics & Management graduate, kicked things off with a danceable compilation of original songs and remixes and versaCello, two brothers who are also McMaster Engineering students, played their stripped down and compelling version of Rihanna’s “We found love”.   

Following the video celebration, participants mingled at an after party and said their goodbyes through a video chat on Microsoft Teams. Some shared favourite memories of their time at McMaster and others seized it as a networking opportunity and offered career advice.

Leading up to the celebration, students received party kits in the mail that included a do-it-yourself grad party cap, confetti, a graduation balloon, fireball M&Ms and a poster of the names of all of the graduates inside a fireball. 

Graduates were asked to complete social media challenges and posted selfies wearing their caps, as well as photos and videos of their names on their poster and how they used the materials for their own at-home parties. Two students even shared a “Pass the Grad Cap” TikTok video.

Watch the full MacEng Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation Party.