Oprah and Facebook team up to host a virtual graduation ceremony

Igor Bonifacic
Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11: Media producer Oprah Winfrey addresses The USC Annenberg School For Communication And Journalism Celebrates Commencement at The Shrine Auditorium on May 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

With the end of the school year quickly approaching and no foreseeable end to the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey to host a special online graduation ceremony for high schools and college students across the US. The event, which will acknowledge schools and colleges state by state, is scheduled to start at 2PM ET on May 15th. Besides Oprah, they’ll be other celebrity guests attending to share words and wisdom and anecdotes, including Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles. Miley Cyrus will also perform her song "The Climb." The entire ceremony will be available to watch on Facebook Watch, with highlights appearing on Instagram

Students who want to host a private graduation party can do so using Facebook. They'll be a virtual graduation hub, as well as custom filters to help make things a bit more exciting than the usual video call. The company's new Messenger Rooms app will allow graduates to invite up to 50 friends and family to their party -- even if they all don't have Facebook accounts. 

Starting on May 11th, Instagram has a slate of programming planned as well. They'll be the usual senior experiences like most likely votes and portrait showcases. That same week, they'll also be new sticker packs and augmented reality effects for graduates to use in their stories and posts. Lastly, both Facebook and Instagram will introduce new graduation-themed music stickers for use in stories.  

It's probably safe to say Facebook's graduation efforts won't be much of a consolation to students who have seen the last year of their high school and college careers end abruptly, but it's still better than nothing. Besides, the important part is that they’ll be able to connect with their friends and family, even if they’re not physically in the same room.