Texas Tech graduates, along with friends and family, gathered around screens on Saturday to watch commencement ceremonies online.


Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said a commencement video isn’t the way students, or the university, envisioned celebrating their achievements, but he said it doesn’t make the achievements any less special.


"Although our traditional commencement ceremony was not possible, we must not let it dampen our spirit of celebration for all that you, the class of 2020, has accomplished," Schovanec said to the 93rd graduation class in Texas Tech history.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional commencement ceremonies typically held at the United Supermarkets Arena were canceled in lieu of the virtual commencement ceremony.


Tech says 4,432 students graduated this May.



Tech posted the virtual commencement videos online at 9 a.m. on Saturday. A separate video was made for each college, and they all contained recorded remarks from President Schovanec, Texas Tech Systems Chancellor Tedd Mitchell, Board of Regents Chairman Christopher Huckabee, several undergraduate student speakers, and faculty members from the college. Deans and other members of the Board of Regents were featured in the videos.


Former Texas Tech quarterback, turned league MVP and Super Bowl winning quarterback, Patrick Mahomes II, was this year's commencement speaker.


Mahomes congratulated the class of 2020, and said he’s excited to help celebrate the accomplishments of his fellow Red Raiders. Mahomes said this isn’t how the Class of 2020 envisioned spending their final days on campus — they’d rather be on Broadway, and at Chimy’s, said Mahomes.


"But the world is in a different place today than it was just a few weeks ago," Mahomes said. "And as Red Raiders, we’re built to persevere in difficult times... Remember, this is still a day to celebrate, to look back on the friends you’ve made, the professors who have changed your life, and the memories you will cherish forever.


"Whatever plans lie in front of you, I have no doubt you will go out there and show the world what it means to come from Lubbock, Texas," Mahomes said. "Go out and win your Super Bowl."


Graduates were then individually introduced, each with an accompanying picture. Some pictures featured graduates in their graduation gown, some were pictured in normal clothes. Graduates were also given the opportunity to write a message, and most of them thanked their parents for all the support.


Other graduates wrote a quote, which included words of wisdom from Malcolm X, Yoda, Kobe Bryant and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some graduates just wrote a message. Messages were sometimes in Spanish, or another language.


"Follow social distancing so we can follow our friends into the pool," wrote one graduate.


"A computer once beat me at chess, but was no match for me in fishing," wrote a graduate with a degree in computer science.


For a few hours on Saturday afternoon, Schovanec invited students to stop by his house to take a picture with him, as students would have during a normal graduation ceremony.


Schovanec said he looks forward to the day when we are in one another’s presence, when we can shake hands and say congratulations.