Howard University moving to celebrate class of 2020 and 2021 next year

Howard University’s president says he’ll try to organize a joint commencement ceremony next year for both the class of 2020, and the class of 2021.

This is in addition to an online commencement tomorrow morning for the class of 2021.

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And tonight was another first for the university – individual programs held their commencement ceremonies online.

Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick talked to FOX 5 on Friday morning.

He said it was a tough decision to move this year’s commencement ceremony – a step that many schools across the country have had to take in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he noted that it’s necessary for the safety of the student body.

Nevertheless, he says that all this turmoil will only prove to benefit this year’s class in the long the run.

“It was a painful decision to be quite honest,” he said.

As a triple alum, Frederick said he knows how important the ceremony is – which is why the class of 2020 will have an opportunity to get that walk.

“We’re going to try and stand up full commencement next year on the same weekend as the class of 2021 and we’re going to try and bring them back,” he said.

At least one student – Mahogany Dixon – told FOX 5 she realizes that it’s necessary.

“It was obviously disappointing but I knew it was for a purpose,” she said.

She says now is the time to make sure everyone is healthy and safe.

“Then we can go on and celebrate because we cannot celebrate if we aren’t here,” Dixon said.

Howard University’s own radio stations – WHUT and WHUR – will be broadcasting the ceremony virtually beginning at 11 – a decision Frederik says will only strengthen the university.

Following the ceremony, a virtual day party will be hosted by Howard alum DJ Jae Murphy.

“This is going to be a special generation and they will have a very unusual outlook on the world but I think one that all of us and many generations to come are going to benefit from,” Frederick said