Pomp & Circumstances That are Out of Our Control: Commencement 2020

Each year, as spring turns to summer, colleges and high schools hold graduation ceremonies to commemorate academic achievement and slide an educational book-end into place; speeches are written and delivered, caps and gowns are donned, and family and friends travel far and wide to hear a single name be read. The functional purpose of these ceremonies is memory making – it’s a reason to gather, celebrate, and pose for photos that might end up on the piano. Of course, the global pandemic that necessitates social distancing makes large events like graduation ceremonies and the parties that follow impossible. But, current circumstances also bring out creativity, innovation, and adaptability. The class of 2020 couldn’t do it the traditional way, but the occasion was still marked, in many cases virtually, and the Colorado State Library would like to hold that memory for the graduates, their friends and family, faculty, and the historical record by creating a collection of Commencement 2020 artifacts and making them available online in a single location via Stories of Colorado. Stories of Colorado is an online repository and archive that highlights Colorado related content from individuals or institutions that do not have an online presence themselves, but do have pieces of Colorado history and culture to share. We are looking for video or audio recordings and/or transcripts of keynote, commencement, and valedictory speeches, and other digital objects related to 2020 graduation activities including, photos, collages, programs, artwork, and more. Contributing objects to this collection enriches the historical record by preserving the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the Colorado class of 2020, and illustrating how the centuries old tradition was modified and transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharing with Stories of Colorado

Content is included in the Stories of Colorado collection by submission through the Colorado State Library staff via a web form.


  1. Complete the online Stories of Colorado Online Content Submission Form.
  2. Upload your digital content though the online form, or send via external storage device to the State Library Attn: Michael Peever
  3. Complete the online “Stories of Colorado” Informed Consent and Copyright Permission for Oral History Interviews, Images, Newsletters, and Personal Documents.
    1. Note that if you wish to share a recording or object that features an individual under the age of 18, a parent or guardian will need to sign the release, in addition to the featured individual.
  4. Wait to hear from us regarding your form submission, your collection, and your content.

If you have any questions, or need assistance, please contact Marisa Wood, Collaborative Programming Coordinator at mwood@coloradovirtuallibrary.org.