When the 2021 graduation ceremony for Kirkland House (Harvard undergraduates receive their diplomas through their houses) was canceled due to COVID-19, I led the design of a virtual ceremony.
Given the dynamicity of COVID-19, the task to create a virtual ceremony was only announced a few short weeks before graduation day. So, while the project had to be relatively simple, I also wanted to make sure it wasn't merely a slideshow of names and photos.
The ceremony opened with filmed elements, including a parody of The Breakfast Club. But the highlight was being able to center the experience in the graduates' physical spaces, while leveraging the unique opportunities of the digital, such as playing a tribute video recorded by friends and colleagues to introduce each graduand. Then, as each graduand's name was read and their tribute video played on screen, the graduand's Zoom video was pinned, opening a window into their reaction and their living room as they celebrated with friends and family.