ASU School of Management celebrates graduates in virtual event with awards delivered by drone

The Class of 2020 were honoured in a unique commencement ceremony complete with telepresence robots and hologram speeches

Thunderbird School of Management at Arizona State University (ASU) celebrated the Class of 2020 in style, acknowledging their achievements in a virtual event complete with robots, holograms and drones.

Closing the book on a complex and difficult year, the school produced an event that was fit for 2020, harnessing the power of digital to ensure graduates didn’t miss out on this celebratory rite of passage. The graduation took place in a virtual reality (VR) rendering of Thunderbird’s new global headquarters, which opens in August 2021. The commencement speaker appeared as a holographic projection within the virtual building, which mirrors the headquarters that is currently under construction.

Outstanding achievers enjoyed a surprise aerial delivery of their award certificates, delivered by the Dean’s drone, making for a novel graduation experience the former students won’t forget any time soon.

“The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of transformative new technologies like the ones we’re pioneering at Thunderbird that help us stay healthy while connecting us so we can still learn and celebrate together,” said director general and dean, Dr Sanjeev Khagram.

Dr Khagram added that, in line with the school’s commitment to impactful and inclusive innovation, its community is making use of technology that allows them to adapt to the challenges ahead, while allowing them to stay ahead of the curve. “As the most global and digital leadership, management and business academy in the world,” he added, “we’re proud to celebrate our 2020 graduates and their families in a way that transcends limitations and highlights the future-ready skills and experience they gained at Thunderbird. Next, we look forward to welcoming our fall 2021 class to the most cutting-edge educational facility anywhere.”

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