YouTube Celebrates Graduates in “Dear Class of 2020,” A Virtual Commencement Premiering June 6
Headlining YouTube Originals “Dear Class of 2020” are President and Mrs. Obama who will each deliver inspirational commencement speeches – as well as a joint heartfelt message – to this year’s graduates.
[via press release from YouTube]
YOUTUBE CELEBRATES GRADUATES IN “DEAR CLASS OF 2020,” A VIRTUAL COMMENCEMENT PREMIERING JUNE 6
EVENT KICKS-OFF WITH A STAR-STUDDED LINEUP HOSTED BY MICHELLE OBAMA’S REACH HIGHER INITIATIVE
COMMENCEMENT SPEECHES FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA, BTS, LADY GAGA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, GOOGLE CEO SUNDAR PICHAI, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE, AND MALALA YOUSAFZAI, WITH A SPECIAL GRAD NIGHT PARTY FEATURING BTS AND MORE
THE FESTIVAL WILL ALSO FEATURE APPEARANCES BY ALICIA KEYS, KELLY ROWLAND, KERRY WASHINGTON, CHLOE X HALLE, ZENDAYA, A SPECIAL GUEST, AND YOUTUBE CREATORS JACKIE AINA, ASAPSCIENCE, DUDE PERFECT, ZANE HIJAZI, HEATH HUSSAR, MR. KATE, THE TRY GUYS, AND MORE
LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 5, 2020 — With students around the world turning to YouTube to share their disappointment about missed high school and college graduations, YouTube today announced “Dear Class of 2020,” a virtual commencement celebration bringing together inspirational leaders, celebrities and creators to celebrate graduates, their families, and their communities. This multi-hour event premieres Saturday, June 6 on YouTube.
“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”
Headlining YouTube Originals “Dear Class of 2020” are President and Mrs. Obama who will each deliver inspirational commencement speeches – as well as a joint heartfelt message – to this year’s graduates. Additionally, Mrs. Obama’s Reach Higher initiative will host a full hour of content and kicking-off this celebration.
Additional commencement speakers include BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Malala Yousafzai. BTS and others will perform at a virtual grad night afterparty. “Dear Class of 2020” will also include special appearances from Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya, YouTube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Zane Hijazi, Heath Hussar, Mr. Kate, and The Try Guys.
In “Dear Class of 2020,” people from around the world will join the class of 2020 as a singular community to celebrate their resilience, and the endless possibilities of their future. This festival-style line up combines classic commencement day themes with a diverse array of entertainment that will capture all of the emotions of graduation including pride, hope, optimism, and camaraderie.
YouTube is working in partnership with Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, Born This Way Foundation, Malala Fund, TODAY, and Ideas United to showcase incredible student stories and feature graduates around the world, including a crowd-sourced commencement speech. The special will be produced by Done + Dusted.
“Dear Class of 2020” can be streamed on the YouTube Originals channel and the Learn@Home site. The full schedule of commencement events will be available on the Learn@Home site beginning on May 17. Graduates can also set a reminder for the show and sign their name on the ‘Dear Class of 2020’ Shout Out Board at yt.be/dearclassof2020.
Graduates will also be able to connect with classmates and loved ones while they watch with Google Meet, a premium, secure video meetings product, which is now available for free to anyone with an email address. Viewers can find Meet on the web at meet.google.com and if using Gmail or Google Calendar, can easily start or join from there, too.
“Dear Class of 2020” is part of the new slate of YouTube Originals aimed to support, entertain and educate viewers around the world during this global pandemic and encourage the world to stay home and save lives through the platform’s At Home #WithMe Campaign. Among the new learning focused projects, celebrities and educators come together to energize distance learning in “Celebrity Substitute” which launches on May 7 and includes newly announced episodes like Bill Nye taking viewers through the theory of Evolution, Art Classes with Terry Crews, Camila Mendes on Psychology, and Janelle Monae with a Social Studies lesson.
This news also comes on the heels of Google’s Teacher Appreciation Week efforts beginning this week. To show gratitude for teachers everywhere, Google unveiled a Doodle designed in collaboration with the 2020 Teachers of the Year, shared a new moment in search film thanking teachers, released a new version of their Teach from Home site with tips and tools on distance learning for teachers and families, announced a $2 million Google.org grant to DonorsChoose and more.
Susanne Daniels is Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. Nadine Zylstra, Head of Learning for YouTube Originals along with Danny Zaccagnino, Laurel Stier, Lauren Vrazilek, and Zoe Di Stefano on the Learning Development team will oversee the project.
About YouTube Originals:
YouTube Originals are award-winning, creative and engaging scripted and unscripted series and films across music, personalities and learning for fans all over the world. Spotlighting both YouTube creators alongside Hollywood’s biggest stars, YouTube Originals provide an experience that only YouTube can offer. By tapping into the platform’s growing global community, fan engagement product capabilities, and innovative content mixed with pioneering live-streamed specials, there is truly something for everybody. Fans experience YouTube Original content through ad-supported YouTube as well as YouTube Premium, a subscription service that offers access to YouTube Original series and movies, a streaming music platform, and an uninterrupted, ad-free experience across all of YouTube. YouTube Originals are available in nearly 80 countries worldwide.
About Reach Higher:
Reach Higher, started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House, works to inspire every student in the U.S. to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, a four-year college or university, or in the military. Reach Higher continues to help underrepresented students navigate the college-going process by raising awareness about helpful tools and resources; meeting students where they are and tailoring technical assistance to meet their unique needs; and building the capacity of the school counseling profession. The Reach Higher Initiative now lives at The Common Application, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. For additional information about Reach Higher and the Common App, visit reachhigher.org and commonapp.org.
About Done + Dusted:
D+D is a global creator of events, content and experiences with offices in Los Angeles, London, China and Abu Dhabi. One of the most respected creators of events, content and audience experiences in the world. D+D has a reputation, network, body of work and global experience that is unsurpassed. Storytelling is the constant organizing principle behind every great piece of entertainment in the world and it is at the heart of everything D+D do. Stories connect us, move us, make us laugh, and cry, and feel. Our stories define us. From ice caps to deserts, from skyscrapers to jungles, D+D has partnered with brands, broadcasters, royalty, digital platforms, audiences, agencies, educators, philanthropists, humanitarians and artists to create and film live spectacles in every corner of the world…anywhere and everywhere that stories are told. D+D take the viewer to both the heart and the extremities, committed to delivering dynamic content, that is innovative and technically pioneering. D+D maintain a consistent level of excellence in everything they do, which is reflected in their unparalleled production credentials. The D+D partners are Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, Simon Pizey, Melanie Fletcher, David Jammy, Katy Mullan and Guy Carrington. More info can be found at doneanddusted.com.
About Ideas United:
Founded in 2001, Ideas United is a creative studio changing the way stories are told. Its in-house team works alongside its global talent network to shape experiences, rethink conventions, and speak to new audiences across four key categories: students, brands, universities & nonprofits, and originals. Producers of the world’s largest student film festival, Campus Movie Fest, Ideas United has created a more progressive model to tell stories built on partnerships and diverse perspectives. Learn more at ideasunited.com
About Born This Way Foundation:
Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world. Born This Way Foundation works to demonstrate the power of kindness, validate the emotions of youth, and eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental health. To achieve these goals, the Foundation leverages evidence-based research and authentic partnerships to connect young people with resources – online and in their communities – to build communities that understand and prioritize mental wellness. Learn more at bornthisway.foundation.
About Malala Fund:
Malala Fund is working for a world where all girls can learn and lead. Malala Fund advocates for resources and policy changes needed to give all girls a secondary education, invests in local education activists and amplifies the voices of girls fighting for change. Learn more at malala.org.