Leading US universities including Harvard and Arizona State University have engaged British tech start-up StageClip to facilitate "virtual graduations" for their seniors in light of in-person ceremonies having to be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

London-based StageClip has also been engaged by the American Public University System, University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University and leading post-graduate and research institution Cranfield University in the UK and is currently in further talks to partner with over 500 other North American universities, high schools, high school districts and elementary schools, as well as universities in Kuwait, Denmark, Israel and Sweden, to facilitate similar events.

Using a digital platform that has already been created, students will be able to record a to-camera message with their smartphones, tablets or laptops, as well as creating a custom slide with their name, degree, photo and a personal message.

The footage from all students is edited together to create a ceremony procession, which can be preceded by a welcome address or commencement speech given by prestigious guest speakers.

The ceremony is then streamed live for graduates, their families and friends via YouTube to create a celebratory communal event. Individual achievements will be recognized as each student is announced by name, before also receiving their recognition in an individual clip for sharing on social media and keeping forever.

For students in need of a cap and gown, StageClip have also created a Snapchat augmented reality lens that places them in the attire, which is designed to also feature their university or college logo in the background. These clips can also be easily shared with friends and family around the world via Snapchat and other social media platforms. 

StageClip have previously used their technology to produce individual, live graduation clips for leading US universities including Johns Hopkins, UC Irvine, UC Davis, NYU, Florida State, Idaho State, Georgia State, the University of Texas and the University of New Orleans, as well as universities across the world such as the University of British Columbia in Canada, Victoria University in Australia and Grenoble Ecole de Management in France.

StageClip are also developing a version of the platform to provide recognition clips for school leavers in other countries where graduation ceremonies are not being held due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Melissa Werner, CSEP, Executive Director in the Office of University Events & Protocol and Executive Director of University Ceremonies at Arizona State University said:

"Due to the public health recommendations surrounding COVID-19, the only responsible decision was to postpone holding our Spring 2020 commencement ceremony in person. However, technology-enabled engagement presents an extraordinary opportunity to still come together to celebrate and honor what our students have achieved. That's why we were so pleased to work with StageClip to find a way for students to share this special occasion with classmates, family and friends, while keeping them and their loved ones safe."

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Cranfield University Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, said:

"Graduation is an important moment for our students, their families and the Cranfield community. When COVID-19 forced us to postpone this year's ceremonies, we were determined to find a way to

celebrate our students' success. We have worked with StageClip previously to create individual video clips of our graduates which they can share, so were delighted to find that they could help us create a special record in these difficult times. It means each graduate still receives their individual recognition, with an opportunity to share that milestone with friends and family around the world via social media. Next year, we hope all graduates will return to celebrate at Cranfield with all the acknowledgments their achievements deserve."

Rupert Forsythe, Founder and CEO at StageClip, commented:

"We've been working with universities across the world for several years to give graduates individualized video clips of their recognition moment on stage for sharing straight after the ceremony.  We really wanted to use our technology to help keep the tradition alive in difficult times. By creating an individual, personal experience for each and every one of them which can be shared with friends and family, we wanted to ensure that graduates still received a gift of recognition from their institutions, and a celebration with their community of fellow students."