Purdue University Global students to attend VR graduation ceremony

SOURCE: JEshoots/Unsplash
Students can attend their graduation ceremony from wherever they are in the world.

By U2B Staff 

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Purdue University Global is taking its online degree experience to the next level by allowing more than 75 of its students to attend their graduation ceremony via virtual reality (VR) in a first-of-its-kind programme. 

Noted to be the first university to attempt this initiative, Purdue will provide students who opt for the VR experience with a branded Purdue Global VR headset, a commencement programme, tassel and honour cord, if applicable. 


The entire procession will be filmed by a camera operator who will provide a full 360-degree view of the ceremony using an Insta360 Pro 2 camera. The experience will be live-streamed on YouTube 360 and launched from Purdue Global’s internal conference centre, PG Connect

There will also be a single-view live video stream that will be uploaded on Facebook Live made available for anyone to watch. 

“We are proud to be the first university to offer students who otherwise would not be able to attend the opportunity to share the excitement of graduation in a virtual setting,” said Purdue Global director of the learning and leadership community Patti Pelletier. 

Purdue University Global
Branded VR headsets to be used during the ceremony. Source: Kaplan Higher Education photo by Chad Skelton

Purdue University Global offers an extensive range of personalised online courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 

While distance learning often comes with the assumption that you will receive an online certificate at the end of the course, now students can attend their very own graduation ceremony from wherever they are. 

“The graduates will see and hear everything as if they were sitting in the Skirball Cultural Center,” added Pelletier.

“When the ceremony begins, they will feel like they are in the procession line marching with the on-site graduates. They will sit with their fellow graduates and watch everything that is happening around them during the ceremony. The virtual graduates will walk onto the stage, hear their name announced and see their picture displayed before returning to their seat.”

This initiative came about almost two years ago in collaboration with Purdue University’s West Lafayette Campus’s Information Technology Research Computing Envision Center

There, Pelletier and other Purdue Global officials worked with lead visualisation scientist George Takahashi on their vision for a VR commencement ceremony. 


“Our undergraduate and graduate students at the Envision Center are deeply involved in exploring new technologies and the development of interactive visualisation and simulation tools for research and learning,” said Takahashi.

“Through our time working with Patti, five of our students explored consumer virtual reality platforms and enterprise 360 video recording and streaming technologies with the objective of providing an accessible immersive graduation experience to those who would otherwise be unable to attend.”

“We are excited to offer this virtual reality opportunity to our students, and likewise, we are delighted to celebrate the successful joint endeavour between technologists at Purdue West Lafayette and our staff at Purdue Global,” said Purdue Global chancellor Betty Vandenbosch. 

This initiative will pave the way on how live events can be attended from anywhere in the world through VR. This opens new pathways of how global ceremonies and events can be approached in the near future. 

The Purdue Global commencement ceremony is set to be held on February 27 in Los Angeles and will be attended in-person by 400 graduates with an additional 75 or so graduates attending via VR.