In June 2020, Waterloo's newest graduates were forced to celebrate their convocation from afar. Then, something wonderful happened: our community of students, alumni, faculty and staff joined together virtually to mark this special occasion. At the same time, convocating students shared their achievements, celebrations and gratitude to create a digital yearbook.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the yearbook! Through your photos, tweets and messages, you opened a unique door to stories we may have missed during an in-person ceremony. We observed a remarkable group of individuals – fully equipped with the creativity, resilience and bravery required to weather the storms of this year and beyond. 

These are just a few highlights of what we learned from the Class of 2020.

Getting creative

First, the Class of 2020 showed us that an innovative spirit can transform any event – even a virtual one – into something unforgettable.

hand-sewn graduation gown and cap

For example, Klyde designed his own graduation gown and cap. 

Kyle has a similar idea – albeit with a slightly different take.  

festive graduation cake

Brittney also had a homemade graduation cap, but this one was edible! Her mom deserves endless kudos for this masterpiece.

Siyavash recreated a virtual convocation snapshot, even featuring a cameo from President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur.

Staying connected

The yearbook also reminded us of how important it is to celebrate our family, friends, and colleagues. In this time of social distancing, the connections we maintain are more precious than ever!

 Two doctors

Celia and her husband were at each other’s side as they graduated with their doctorates.

 Ola and her mom also graduated together this year!

Biology professor Bruce Reed and GEM professor Derek Robertson went an extra mile to bring congratulatory messages to their students.

Fighting for a dream

Lastly, some grads shared stories of how – despite the odds – they overcame adversity to achieve their academic goals.


"The road to this moment was not an easy one," says Sara. By bringing home a university degree, she fulfilled the dream that a civil war had disrupted for her father.

Tiffany's story

Tiffany shared that although her undergraduate journey was not always straightforward, the hard-fought victories were the ones that mattered most to her.

In short, these brand-new alumni have blown us away. If the Class of 2020 are the leaders of tomorrow, we’re in good hands!

Want to see more of the yearbook? Follow us on Instagram @uwaterlooalumni and click on the "Yearbook 2020" highlight, or watch the video below.