Former President Bill Clinton is the latest to hop on the 2020 virtual graduation circuit.
The 42nd president of the United States will be a featured speaker in Verizon’s four-week “Class of 2020: Ready for Anything” series honoring this year’s graduating seniors. Clinton is scheduled to deliver a livestreamed address on Friday, June 12.
Verizon’s 2020 commencement series will feature 30-minute sessions over four consecutive Fridays with business execs and sports figures, capped with interactive Q&As in which viewers will be able to submit questions to the speakers.
Speakers in the series are: William P. Lauder, executive chairman, the Estée Lauder Cos., and Katie Sowers, San Francisco 49ers assistant coach (May 22); NBA star Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers (May 29); Hugh Evans, co-founder/CEO, Global Citizen, and Jen Rubio, co-founder of Away (June 5); and Bill Clinton and Verizon chairman/CEO Hans Vestberg (June 12). Start times for the sessions are TBA.
COVID-19 quarantines have yielded a bumper crop of virtual graduation celebrations vying for attention. Others include Facebook’s May 15 livestreaming event featuring Oprah Winfrey, Miley Cyrus, Cardi B, Selena Gomez, and dozens more; and YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” (June 6) which will feature former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama alongside BTS, Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai and other guests.
Verizon’s Class of 2020 lineup skews less Hollywood, focusing on leaders who will deliver their commentary to graduates about moving forward together as a society as the coronavirus pandemic has delivered a massive blow to the U.S. economy.
Vestberg told Variety that the impetus for the graduation series was to give back to the community during a time of crisis. “We are in unprecedented times, and you need to think very differently as a corporation,” he said. “The business case is, you have to do the right thing for society as well as the right thing for shareholders, customers and employees.”
As far as the speakers Verizon invited for the series, Vestberg said, “We wanted people who have been around and can give advice – and have life experiences that are exciting. They’re very interesting people, and they’re each very different.”
The speaker series will be streamed on Verizon’s LinkedIn page and simulcast on the company’s Yahoo and Yahoo Life properties. Replays of the talks will be available on those same platforms as well as Verizon’s Yahoo Finance Fios channel.
Among its initiatives during the pandemic, Verizon launched the twice-weekly “Pay It Forward Live” entertainment series to benefit small businesses, featuring performances by music artists like Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper, Janelle Monáe, Billie Eilish and Finneas, and Dave Matthews.
The telco also teamed with the New York Times Co. to provide the U.S.’s 14 million high school students (and teachers) free digital access to the paper’s website from April 6-July 6.