Delaware State University to hold first virtual commencement May 16

DOVER — Delaware State University announced plans Tuesday for its first virtual commencement to be held May 16 in place of the traditional in-person ceremony that has been canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university will broadcast the virtual commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16 on the university’s website ( and its social media sites. The university will recognize about 700 bachelors’, masters’ and doctoral graduates

Ukee Washington

The university has mailed graduating seniors their commencement robes and caps as well as the ceremonial cylinders designed to hold the diplomas. The seniors have been instructed to take a picture of themselves in the robe and cap while holding the cylinder, and then to send that photo back to the university to be used during the virtual commencement ceremony.

Each graduate’s picture will appear on the screen during the virtual commencement when their name is announced.

The virtual commencement will also feature many of the elements of the traditional commencement. There will be remarks from University President Tony Allen and Board of Trustees Chairman Devona Williams and others. The university will award one student its Presidential Leadership Award and seven undergraduates who have maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average will be presented with Presidential Academic Awards.

The keynote speaker will be the same one originally scheduled for the in-person ceremony – CBS 3 evening news co-anchor Ukee Washington. After spending part of his childhood in Philadelphia, Mr. Washington moved to Dover where he attended and graduated from Dover High School. Because his father Dr. Ulysses S. Washington was the head of then-Delaware State College’s Agriculture Department, young Mr. Washington spent his high school years living on the DSC campus.

Mr. Washington is in his 34th year as a newscaster for CBS 3, beginning as a sports anchor in 1986 and then moving over to the news desk in 1996 as an early morning and noon anchor. He has anchored the evening news since 2015. He has been at the center of reporting the region’s most memorable events during his career, including the 2012 storm Sandy, the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and Pope Francis’ historic visit to the City of Brotherly Love in 2015.

During the virtual commencement, the university will award an honorary doctoral degree to Donald Graham, the founder of TheDream.US, a scholarship program for undocumented immigrant students. Through that program, about 150 DREAMers have enrolled at DSU since 2016. The first graduating class of DREAMers will be recognized for completing their undergraduate journey during the virtual commencement.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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