Celebrating Miami of OH Grads with a Virtual Graduation | Subvrsive


Brand: Miami University


Celebrating Miami of OH Grads with a Virtual Commencement


Graduating is a huge deal. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools decided to send students home and finish out the semester safely online. For graduating seniors, that meant no graduation ceremony, no cap, and no gown. Miami University set out to change that.

Wanting to give their students a meaningful way to celebrate their academic achievements with family and friends until the in-person ceremony could be rescheduled, the team at Miami University reached out to Subvrsive.

The Idea:

Host a virtual commencement over the weekend of May 16 and 17 to honor each graduating Miami University student and showcase the Miami experience.

The Work:

We designed a virtual graduation ceremony that allowed students to enjoy an immersive commencement within a virtual replica of the Miami University campus. Friends and family were invited to view the festivities via a live video stream.

The Result:

Miami University awarded 4,356 degrees during the ceremonies, and the live streamed events garnered a total of over 100,000 views.



Avatars & Interaction


Ask any student and they’ll tell you: one of the best parts about graduation day is the chance to share it with friends. Knowing this, we built interaction right into the student experience for Miami University’s virtual commencement.

All Miami grads were invited to participate in a VR ceremony. The web-based experience allowed students to choose a custom-designed Miami-themed avatar decked out in school colors and the iconic Miami “M” and join a CG space that resembled Miami’s actual campus.

Once inside, students could move about freely, interact with one another through voice or chat, and view all of the commencement content on virtual screens within the environment.



The Live Stream


Family, friends, and faculty could all join the fun by tuning in live to any scheduled ceremony on YouTube or Facebook.

Each ceremony featured a 30-minute pre-show reel that showcased Miami life, speeches from Miami University staff, and a closing segment featuring congratulatory messages alongside a presentation of personalized digital graduation caps, designed and submitted ahead of time by graduating students.

The seven ceremonies received a combined total of over 100,000 views on YouTube and Facebook.

“I am so thankful we can celebrate together, if not in person right now, in a one-of-a-kind way that reflects how our students, alumni and our entire Miami community come together to innovate, lead, push beyond boundaries and thrive.”

– Gregory Crawford, President, Miami University


Messages & Shoutouts


In addition to the live events, we created a few fun extras to help bring the virtual graduation experience to another level.

Family and friends were all invited to submit congratulatory messages and photos to a custom microsite to celebrate the grads. By the end of graduation weekend, over 6,000 messages were submitted and displayed on the site alongside a curated feed of social posts containing the #MiamiOHGrad hashtag.


Grad Pics Galore


We also designed a custom MiamiOHGrad Snapchat filter to allow users to take festive photos in a red graduation cap in front of several iconic campus locations. The filter was used over 8,000 times.

All in all, the commencement celebrations for Miami University’s Class of 2020 were unlike any other.


Bringing Events to Life Digitally


Just as schools and universities were forced to think outside of the box to create virtual experiences amid COVID-19, many businesses and brands are in the same position. The good news is, from simple live streams and pre-programmed events, to complete VR events like the Miami graduation, there are countless ways to bring in-person events to life in the digital realm.


Final Delivery

Work alongside Miami University to create a detailed plan and user journeys for a multi-platform virtual graduation experience.

Design and launch custom microsite ahead of graduation weekend to allow family and friends to submit congratulatory messages to graduates.

Develop VR portion of the experience, QA test, and develop training materials to ensure seamless user experience.

Create seven unique commencement programs to stream live to YouTube and Facebook on graduation weekend.

Produce and manage entire multi-platform experience over graduation weekend and provide user support over both days of virtual event.