Mason honors 2020 graduates with virtual Commencement ceremony

Mascot in cap and gown
The campus community is preparing for the virtual Commencement on Dec. 17, including The Patriot. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

George Mason University will honor more than 4,600 summer and fall graduates this week at its 53rd Commencement, a virtual ceremony that also will commemorate the 9,700 graduates from Spring 2020.

Commencement will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 on GMU-TV. The university first recognized the spring graduates in May with a virtual Celebration of the Class of 2020, also livestreamed on GMU-TV.

Charniele L. Herring, BA Economics ’93, is the featured speaker for Commencement. Herring is the first African American woman from Northern Virginia to be elected to the state legislature and the first woman and first African American to be named majority leader of the House of Delegates.

Commencement also will include congratulatory messages from Mason President Gregory Washington and others, musical performances, and degree conferrals. School and college degree celebration pages will feature personalized slides on their graduates.

Colleges and schools with doctoral candidates will hold live ceremonies following Commencement.

The 5,075 degree and certificate earners who graduated during the summer or have filed an intent to graduate in December are a typically diverse group. They hail from 63 countries, 41 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and foreign military installations. About one-third of bachelor’s degree earners report they are first-generation college graduates.

The winter graduating class also reflects Mason’s standing as a leading producer of tech talent in Virginia—35% of the undergraduates, and 25% of graduate students, are earning degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The top five undergraduate majors are information systems and operations management, psychology, computer science, management, and criminology, law and society.

In addition to the 3,068 students earning bachelor’s degrees in December, the winter class includes 1,389 students earning master’s degrees, 163 doctorates, and 17 law school graduates.

The top five master’s majors are curriculum and instruction, special education, data analytics engineering, education leadership, and accounting.

The top doctorate majors are education, psychology, economics, bioinformatics and computational biology, conflict analysis and resolution, and public policy.