Illinois Commencement 2020

University of Illinois Wordmark
University of Illinois 2020 Commencement

Separated by distance,
celebrating together

We understand the importance of Commencement at Illinois.

We are actively exploring options for a rescheduled in-person ceremony to celebrate the achievements of graduating students when it is safe to do so.

While we’re not celebrating the way we expected, we wanted to let you know just how proud we are of each graduating Illini.


Join the virtual celebration to help congratulate our amazing Illinois graduates while we plan for the in-person ceremony.

Watch the celebration live on Facebook.

Many voices, one graduating class

Enjoy a rendition of the state song, "Illinois," performed by the Women's Glee Club and the Varsity Men's Glee Club.

"When you bring the brightest minds together, everything changes."

This photo of the Class of 2020 was taken in August 2016. Can you spot your graduate?

Experience Campus

Take a look around.

While we’re apart, explore some of the most famous landmarks on campus that will be waiting for you when you return as alumni.

lincoln statue

Lincoln's Bust in Lincoln Hall

Lincoln’s nose is shiny bright from the thousands of students who have reached out for good luck before exams.

round barn

South Farms

The university's South Farms encompass more than 1,000 acres of land used for research, teaching and outreach.

altgeld building

Altgeld Chimes

You know you’re on campus when you hear the stately ring of “Hail to the Orange” from the Altgeld Hall chimes.

stage at krannert

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Krannert Center is recognized as the nation’s premier university-based performing arts center.

library filled with students

University Library

Our library is one of the largest public university libraries in the world, housing more than 14 million volumes and 24 million items.

close up of alma mater

Alma Mater

Standing tall on the north side of Altgeld Hall, the iconic sculpture depicts a woman in academic robes flanked by two figures representing the university’s motto, “Learning and Labor.”

upwards shot of the hallene gateway

Hallene Gateway

The Hallene Gateway greets visitors at the east entrance of campus.

morrow plots on campus

Morrow Plots

The Morrow Plots are the oldest continuous agricultural field in the Western Hemisphere.

eternal flame light

Eternal Flame

Located on the Main Quad, the former oil lamp promises eternal love after kissing your significant other beneath it.

distant picture of the south side of illini union

Illini Union

Generations of students have enjoyed the Union’s programs, services and resources since the student center first opened its doors in 1941.

front of foellinger

Foellinger Auditorium

One of the most iconic buildings on campus, Foellinger Auditorium hosts classes, public lectures, concerts and student performances.

Alma Cam

Say hello to a familiar face.

The university will always be here to welcome you back with open arms.

Altgeld Chimes

Sounds like home. Experience the familiar ring of the Altgeld Chimes.

Thousands of Illini.
One Illinois family.

View Full Size

To the Game-Changing Class of 2020

Former U.S. Women's National Soccer Team head coach Jill Ellis led the U.S. to win the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Ellis has the most wins in U.S. soccer history and is the only person to win back-to-back Women’s World Cups. She was previously head coach of the first Illinois women’s soccer team.

Jill ellis and part of the US women's soccer team
Source: ISI Photos

Dear University of Illinois graduates!

That has a nice sound to it right? GRADUATES!! HECK YEAH!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This day may not be the formal donning of caps and gowns or the in-person celebrations with friends and family—but it is a day to honor YOU and the remarkable accomplishment you have achieved. Well done!

I am truly disappointed to not be in Chambana looking at all your joyous faces and rockin’ the blue and orange! But I could not let this special day go by without reaching out to you all and offering my sincerest congratulations. My time at the University of Illinois provided me lasting friendships, a platform on which to grow and mature and the confidence to chase my dreams! I have no doubt that it has provided you a similar foundation for the start of this amazing journey you are about to embark on.

Will you remember every theory you discussed, every algorithm utilized or every novel you ploughed through? Heck no—but the discovery of who you are, what you value and your pursuit of knowledge will strengthen you to pursue your passions and make a difference in the world. Within the US Women’s National Team, we would discuss the importance of the role we defined as the “Game Changer.” This individual would embrace the responsibilities of positively impacting the outcome of the game. It might be making an important tackle, facilitating an assist to a goal or supporting the team from the sidelines—the roles may be different, but the purpose was consistent. I challenge each of you to draw on the experience you have had at the University of Illinois and go be a Game Changer! These are extraordinary times, and we need extraordinary people like you to be the difference.

Final thought—no trophy or award my team or I have ever lifted has only one set of fingerprints on it. Take this day to honor all the people who have helped you to today’s wonderful accomplishment. Professors, family, mentors, friends, fellow students—your team behind the team share your pride today!

Okay, here’s to the Illini grads!! GO FORTH AND KICK ASS!

Jill Ellis
Ambassador for the United States Soccer Federation
Former U.S. Women's National Soccer Team head coach

We can't wait to have you back on campus.

Customize your commencement images with iconic campus backdrops.

Customize Yours

We’re loyal to you, Illini

Enjoy a rendition of “Illinois Loyalty” performed virtually by members of the Marching Illini.

"You are Illinois graduates. And Illinois graduates change the world."

Letters to Illinois graduates

Robert J. Jones


Congratulations on reaching this memorable milestone in your life and journey at Illinois. Today, we hope you feel celebrated and proud of what you have accomplished.

To get to this point, you have overcome challenges and surmounted hurdles that no other Illinois graduating class has faced before. I hope you are proud of the work you have done and the person you have become along the way. We are incredibly grateful to welcome you into the Illinois alumni family.

To the parents, spouses, children, friends, mentors and family members who are with us today—we also want to extend gratitude to you. Not one of us makes it here on our own, and we thank you for providing these graduates with support and encouragement. You are an important part of this university, and today we congratulate you as well.

Graduates, we can’t wait to gather and celebrate the commencement of your time as a student at Illinois. We will be waiting to celebrate you with a rescheduled in-person ceremony worthy of your achievements. In the meantime, we hope you stay connected as you embark to make your own impact on the world.

Robert J. Jones

Timothy L. Killeen


Congratulations, Class of 2020!

Your class has carved a special place in the history of the University of Illinois System, and not because you are the first to have its commencement put on hold in the over 150 years since our founding.

You will be remembered for the extraordinary character you have displayed during a crisis unlike any our world has seen in generations.

You are resilient—shifting gears seamlessly as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted your traditional, on-campus classrooms to online and distance learning, almost overnight.

You are understanding and selfless—giving up the last few weeks of college as you knew it during your very last year on campus.

And you are role models—setting an example through your sacrifices that inspired others to follow and build on the social distancing that is essential to slow COVID’s spread and restore the lives we appreciate now more than ever.

Those qualities will carry you far in your new life journey that begins tomorrow. And you are primed to flourish, thanks to the talents and civic-minded spirit you nurtured here that will lift not just your own careers, but your families and your communities.

But, first, take some time to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished—the lessons you have learned here and the friendships you have made that have shaped you and opened the doors to your dreams.

There are a small handful of milestone days in life that you will never forget. From my own experience and from the beaming faces I have watched at more than 30 years of commencements, I can tell you that your graduation is one of them. So I hope you savor every minute of it.

On behalf of everyone across our state’s flagship university system, it is an honor to celebrate you, joined by the proud family and friends who have supported you along the way.

I hope the lessons you carry away from this world-class university exceed the high expectations that brought you here, and guide you to the future you imagined.

Enjoy your day and come back often.

Timothy L. Killeen

Donald J. Edwards

Chairman, Board of Trustees

On behalf of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, and as a proud alumnus, I am honored to bring greetings and congratulations to the Class of 2020.

Although it has been quite a few years since my own graduation, I still remember the mix of excitement and anxiety I felt, not knowing exactly what the future would hold. That feeling is both understandable and, for you, filled with more unknowns than anyone could have imagined just a few months ago.

To be sure, you have been uniquely challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. You have both my admiration and respect for the ways you have responded as you took your final steps toward your degrees. I have truly been humbled and proud to see you continue to strive toward your future as instruction moved online, friends and colleagues scattered across the globe and changes tested your initiative and resolve.

So what can I say to you today, knowing that you have already accomplished so much in the face of adversity?

It is this: Whatever lies ahead, like everyone who has ever earned a degree from the University of Illinois, you have laid an incredibly strong foundation for the future you will build.

The world-class education you received here, in and out of the classroom, has provided you with the knowledge and skills to succeed and flourish. And the world, challenged as it has not been in a long time, needs you now. It is time to take that education and make your mark.

As you take your next steps, know, too, that you carry a bond that forever connects you to your years working toward this moment. You are joining one of the world’s largest alumni networks—nearly 750,000 strong from across the U. of I. System’s three, best-in-class universities.

As our alumni do now, I hope you will carry our flag with pride, with your successes adding to our global reputation for excellence and attracting the new generations of students who want to follow in your footsteps.

When the time comes that we are all able to gather again, I hope you will come back to your campus often—to share your achievements, your experiences and your insights. And, as you are out there changing the world for the better, know that all of us you have left behind will be working for you, ensuring that the value and prestige of your degree continues to grow.

Congratulations again, Class of 2020!

Donald J. Edwards
Chairman, Board of Trustees

No matter where you are, don’t forget to turn your tassel

The tassel is worn on the right side and moved to the left when students earn their diplomas.

Alma Mater wearing a cap and gown with the tassel on the left

Honors, Graduates and Candidates

This contains an unofficial list of May candidates for graduation and a list of graduates who received degrees in August 2019 and December 2019. Because of deadlines, names of some degree recipients may not appear, while names of degree candidates may appear even though they have not completed their degree requirements. The university’s official registry for conferral of degrees is the Office of the Registrar.

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser to view the list of graduates on the page. You can download the list to view it instead.


As you take your next steps, remember the familiar Illinois orange and blue is never far away.

Note about in-person ceremony

We absolutely understand the importance of Commencement at Illinois. The university is actively exploring options for a rescheduled in-person ceremony to celebrate the achievements of graduating students when it is safe to do so.