Watch: 13 Famous CMU Grads Send off the Class of 2020

The virtual Carnegie Mellon University ceremony Sunday included surprise appearances from Ted Danson, Billy Porter and Ming-Na Wen.


For high school and college seniors, the COVID-19 pandemic has cost them an occasion that would typically be a day of joy and celebration. 

Having 13 celebrities act as your commencement speakers can soften the blow. 

And CMU has no shortage of celebrity graduates. 

Performers Billy Porter, Ted Danson, Ming-Na Wen, Leslie Odom Jr. and Tamara Tunie, San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, and business leaders David Tepper, Luis von Ahn, Brian Olsavsky, Matt Rogers, Keith Block and Larry Jennings offered words of congratulations and inspiration for the Class of 2020 during the 30-minute ceremony.

Danson got things started.

“I’m sorry that we’re not all together in one spot, which would have been way more fun. The good news is that we don’t have to wear pants,” said Danson, a 1972 graduate of the College of Fine Arts. “I’m so excited for all of you, and I hope we all get to work together someday. And to the rest of you who may be biologists, engineers and scientists: please save our lives.”

Watch the entire video below, but just a warning: if the words of wisdom don’t make you emotional, Tunie’s sendoff performance of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” probably will.

Categories: The 412