The Ask

Create an online ceremony that feels as inclusive and celebratory as the annual stadium event for UW Graduation

Live Event

Strategy / Production

University of Washington 2020 Virtual Graduation

The Experience

The University of Washington Office of Ceremonies needed to move their 2020 graduation to a live webcast experience. The event included graduates from all three Puget Sound campuses, with the main broadcast coming live from a historic UW Seattle campus location. In addition to the main unified event, each campus had unique content highlighting their own community’s faculty, staff and graduates.  

Looking for ways to make the experience compelling, the UW Office of Ceremonies turned to TPN for partnership in creating an online ceremony that felt as inclusive and celebratory as their usual stadium event.  Working closely with the Office of Ceremonies, TPN was tasked to help move their existing creative concept to a global webcast event, bringing the audience into the ceremony.

Social media was highlighted throughout the preshow and ceremony utilizing hashtags and an aggregator to showcase student and family reactions.  Other interactive elements included a downloadable program, a place for families to view their student’s photo and short note of thanks, as well as a place to view and vote on a cap decorating contest.

What We Did

The UW already had a strong program developed with all the usual elements of a live graduation.  Utilizing Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other virtual meeting platforms, TPN captured and added into the programming audience members from across the world.  Students and their families were able to share their thoughts and feelings during a news magazine style preshow, as well as be integrated into the main program as audience cutaways.  The onstage presenters were able to see their virtual audience via monitors and a large LED screen located in the audience area.  

In collaboration with the UW Environmental Health and Safety and King County Health departments, TPN developed a stage and support layout as well as onsite procedures that adhered to Washington State COVID regulations. This required an expanded schedule and specific support structures as well as dedicated staff to manage and monitor compliance.  Live presenters had to be limited to no more than five onstage.  TPN helped guide the program modification to a mix of live and pre-recorded presenters.

The mix of local live presenters, remote live audience and pre-recorded content blended seamlessly into an experience that was compelling, moving and community focused.  


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