Carnegie Corporation of New York celebrated the Class of 2020 as part of Graduate Together, a primetime special produced in response to the cancellations of graduation ceremonies nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Broadcast live on all major networks on May 16, 2020, the event included a virtual choir of graduating seniors singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and appearances by dozens of celebrities, among them Timothée Chalamet, LeBron James, the Jonas Brothers, Ben Platt, Malala Yousafzai, and Zendaya.
In his commencement address, former President Barack Obama urged the more than 3 million graduates to meet the challenges of our times: “If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you. That realization may be kind of intimidating. But I hope it’s also inspiring.… with so much uncertainty, with everything suddenly up for grabs, this is your generation’s world to shape.”
Graduate Together was produced by XQ Institute, the LeBron James Family Foundation, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Corporate and philanthropic support associated with the event will benefit hunger-relief organizations and Donors Choose, a longtime Corporation grantee that is working to ensure that students in high-need communities have the resources they need to keep learning during the COVID-19 crisis.