Auburn University to recognize spring 2020 graduates in several special ways

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Although Auburn University’s spring 2020 commencement ceremony has been postponed to August amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is planning several ways in which the graduating class of more than 4,500 will still be recognized.

“We are proud of this graduating class and appreciate their resilience throughout the many uncertainties and challenges resulting from this global pandemic,” said Provost Bill Hardgrave. “It is important that we recognize their scholarly achievements and do all we can to honor their hard work.”

Beginning this week, all Auburn spring graduates can contribute to a photo mosaic available on Auburn’s commencement website. Graduates can upload one personal image from their time at Auburn to the university’s photo mosaic platform that, when finished, will combine all submitted photos and take the shape of an interlocking AU. Students will be able to download the completed Spring 2020 mosaic image and share it on their own social media accounts beginning May 22. 

In addition, President Jay Gogue will send a commemorative gift box to all spring graduates that includes a mortarboard, tassel, two printed commencement programs, an official Alumni Association pin, an academic honor cord for those students who met the criteria, a copy of the Auburn Creed and a graduate gameday button. Graduates can expect to start receiving gift boxes via mail beginning next week.

Even though students won’t be on campus this weekend for commencement ceremonies as originally planned, they can still upload images of themselves in three iconic campus locations via virtual backgrounds. The virtual backgrounds can be accessed by visiting Auburn’s commencement website and clicking on the “Virtual Backgrounds” box.

This semester, the university is transitioning from rental cap and gowns to keepsake regalia that will ship to students. The order deadline for August commencement is June 1. Regalia can be ordered by visiting

Already this month, Auburn’s Board of Trustees conferred degrees for all spring graduates, allowing those students to pursue employment or continue their education with the completion of their degrees. All totaled, 4,538 degrees were awarded for the spring graduating class.

That breaks down to 124 doctoral degrees, 708 master’s degrees, 12 specialist degrees, 136 pharmacy degrees, 115 veterinary medicine degrees and the following bachelor’s degrees by college and school: Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, 838; College of Liberal Arts, 635; Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, 723; College of Sciences and Mathematics, 376; College of Education, 292; College of Architecture, Design and Construction, 199; College of Agriculture, 138; College of Human Sciences, 181; and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, 61.

Last month, the university announced the decision to host the spring and summer commencement ceremonies Aug. 8-9. Final August commencement event decisions are contingent on public health circumstances surrounding the global pandemic. 

Traditionally, Auburn’s summer commencement program recognizes 1,500 graduates across two ceremonies. By combining spring and summer exercises, the university will extend the event to multiple ceremonies across two days, provided the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.