Innovative Virtual Graduation: SMU's Response to COVID-19 Challenges

SMU and Hiverlab create virtual graduation amid COVID-19 disruptions


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Singapore Management University (SMU) faced a significant challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted traditional graduation ceremonies, pivotal milestones in students' lives. To address this, SMU partnered with Hiverlab to innovate a virtual graduation experience that would allow students to celebrate their achievements despite physical distancing measures.

Hiverlab's solution involved creating digital avatars of SMU graduates. Using a simple selfie upload, students could generate avatars that accurately represented them. These avatars enabled graduates to virtually project themselves anywhere using mobile devices, facilitating the creation of virtual graduation photos that could be shared on social media. This approach aimed to foster a sense of unity and celebration among graduates, despite being physically apart.

The centerpiece of the virtual graduation was a meticulously designed ceremony that mirrored the traditional in-person event. Digital avatars of graduates were depicted walking on stage to receive their graduation certificates from respective deans. This digital commencement aimed to replicate the excitement and honor of a physical ceremony, ensuring graduates felt recognized for their accomplishments.

Additionally, graduates were given the opportunity to upload photos and videos showcasing their favorite memories at SMU. This feature allowed students to reminisce about their academic journey and share experiences with peers and the broader SMU community, fostering a sense of nostalgia and connection.

SMU's decision to embrace innovation during challenging times proved highly successful. The virtual graduation, powered by digital avatars and interactive features, provided graduates with a unique and memorable experience. It underscored SMU's adaptability and creativity in turning adversity into an opportunity for growth and celebration.

Ultimately, the virtual graduation not only demonstrated resilience within the educational community but also set a precedent for future initiatives aimed at overcoming challenges through innovative approaches. It served as a testament to SMU's commitment to supporting its students and celebrating their achievements amidst global uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Rrahul Sethi
June 28, 2024
5 min read