Posted May 5, 2020

Temple University celebrates its largest ever graduating class amid COVID-19 safety precautions

The Class of 2020 includes 10,430 degree recipients in the 2019–2020 academic year—a record for the university.

Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
This year Temple University commemorates a record-breaking graduating class.

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has postponed an in-person ceremony for Temple’s 133rd Commencement, the university officially confers undergraduate, graduate and professional program degrees to its record-breaking Class of 2020 on May 7 with an online celebration. 

A total of 10,430 graduates earned degrees in the 2019–2020 academic year. This is Temple’s largest class to date, marking only the third time in the university’s history that it has seen more than 10,000 graduates. This surge in degrees is more than 1,000 more recipients than those conferred four years ago, when most of these students were admitted to Temple.

This year’s graduates hail from as far away as Australia and also represent 48 states, three U.S. territories and 64 counties of Pennsylvania.

Temple's oldest graduate, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education, is 74 years old, while the youngest graduate, who earned a bachelor’s from Boyer College of Music and Dance, is just 19.

To commemorate this achievement while adhering to current social distancing guidelines, notable alumni, faculty, family members, classmates and the graduates themselves submitted celebratory video messages to a Temple Made Day Class of 2020 webpagewhich debuts this week. 

“We are incredibly proud of this class and they deserve tremendous congratulations from all of us at Temple,” said President Richard M. Englert. “These students have shown themselves to be incredibly resilient, in most cases completing the final months of their degrees amid a global health crisis. They are the living embodiment of the persistence that is a hallmark of this university.”
He continued, “We can’t wait to celebrate their accomplishments in person as soon as it is safe to do so.” 

More than 7,100 of this year’s graduates earned undergraduate degrees, while more than 2,500 earned graduate degrees and nearly 800 celebrated the culmination of their professional studies.

Of the graduates, 318 earned their second degree from Temple, 29 earned their third, three earned their fourth and two received their fifth.  

Approximately 1,600 students came from Philadelphia, with more than 150 from the seven ZIP codes surrounding Temple’s Main Campus.

Of those earning undergraduate degrees, nearly 11 percent also studied abroad, including many who took courses at Temple’s campuses in Rome and Tokyo.

University officials announced in March that the university’s in-person Commencement ceremony would be postponed amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will take place at a future date when students and families can safely attend. 

Andrew Lochrie