Student and Academic Life

UK Students Come Together to Create Video Message for the Class of 2020

Students honor the Class of 2020. Video written by students Sally Martin and Michaela Taylor and produced by Ben Branscum.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2020) — Today marks the final day of the spring 2020 semester, and it also would have been the first day of University of Kentucky’s now-postponed Commencement Ceremonies.

To honor this milestone during a time when in-person gatherings are not permitted, a group of students came together to produce a video message for the UK Class of 2020.

The project was written and organized by May 2020 graduates Sally Martin and Michaela Taylor, and produced by Ben Branscum, a student worker with UK Marketing and Brand Strategy.

Students in the video include (by order of appearance):

Sally Martin

Michael Hamilton

Jessica Waters

Cameron Asher

Camryn Lee and Talbott

Sadie and Hanna Long

Ramya Kondaveeti

Chynna Hibbitts

Leah Edmond

Tony Riley

Amani Shalash

Bailey Vandiver

Elijah Caldwell

Michaela Taylor

While the May graduates will be invited to a future in-person ceremony (to be scheduled at a later time), the university and its colleges are celebrating the graduates this week in nontraditional ways. This includes two daily broadcasts through Saturday, May 9, on student radio station WRFL 88.1 FM featuring the reading of all undergraduate, master’s, professional and doctoral students’ names who applied for a May or August degree. During the final broadcast at 3 p.m. Saturday, UK President Eli Capilouto and UK Student Government Association President Michael Hamilton will give special addresses to the graduates. Listeners can access the broadcasts via radio at 88.1 FM or via streaming from the WRFL website: For more information and to see a full schedule, visit

UK is also highlighting graduate stories on its social media channels this week. Graduates are encouraged to follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and share their own special moments by using the hashtag, #UKGrad.

For more information about virtual celebrations, including individual college plans, visit

About the May 2020 Graduating Class

The UK Board of Trustees approved the conferral of 5,177 degrees at its meeting on May 5, including 3,700 undergraduate, 1,002 graduate and 475 professional degree candidates for May 2020. These numbers reflect degree candidates, not individual graduates (some graduates earn more than one degree, thereby being counted as a degree candidate multiple times). Degrees will be certified by the UK registrar, ensuring individuals have satisfactorily completed all requirements. The most up-to-date information is available through UK and Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support.

photo of Camryn Lee and service dog-in-training Talbott
Camryn Lee and service dog-in-training Talbott take part in the student video message to the UK Class of 2020.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.