NC State University Commencement 2020

Watch the

NC State University’s first-ever virtual commencement ceremony will stream on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, at 6 p.m. EST to honor the graduates of spring, summer and fall 2020.


View or download our
2020 Commencement Ceremony Program


An Address
to the Graduates

from alum and NASA astronaut Christina H. Koch

Remarks and

from your deans, faculty and classmates

Conferring of Degrees

and other NC State graduation traditions

… and so much more!

We are excited to announce that NASA astronaut and NC State alumna Christina H. Koch will present the commencement address for NC State’s first-ever virtual commencement ceremony.

Christina Hammock Koch

B.S. Electrical Engineering, 2001
B.S. Physics, 2002
M.S. Electrical Engineering, 2002

The three-time NC State graduate will be awarded an honorary doctorate degree and deliver the address to the spring, summer and fall graduates of 2020 when the ceremony streams on Friday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. EST.

A native of Michigan who grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Koch was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2013, and she completed astronaut candidate training in 2015. She served as a flight engineer on the International Space Station for three expeditions. Koch set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, and she participated in the first all-woman spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. In September 2020, Koch and Meir were named to Time’s “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020” list.

The crews she served on contributed to hundreds of scientific experiments. Prior to becoming an astronaut, Koch held roles in remote scientific field engineering, which took her to American Samoa, Antarctica, Alaska and Greenland, and in space science instrument development. Her roles included work as an electrical engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics and as a research associate for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Koch proudly holds bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering (2001) and physics (2002) and a master’s degree in electrical engineering (2002), all from NC State University.

Brendan Roess

B.S. Biological Sciences, Summer 2020

Summer 2020 graduate Brendan Roess has approached his life and academic career with one goal in mind: to better the lives of those around him.

“I’m not the type of person who has given myself a finish line.”

The native of Cary, North Carolina, began his undergraduate career at Appalachian State University, but he transferred to NC State for his sophomore year to study human biology. Throughout his time at NC State, Roess has been heavily involved in research. He worked in Dr. Nanette Nascone-Yoder’s lab as an undergraduate researcher, received a grant through the Office of Undergraduate Research, received summer funding from the College of Veterinary Medicine and received the Top Honor award for a poster presented at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Annual Research Forum and Litwack Lecture. His passions for encouraging student involvement led Roess to serve as a student ambassador with the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Read more about Brendan

Off campus, Roess has volunteered at both Duke-Raleigh Hospital and Oak City Cares, an outreach center that distributes meals, masks and clothing to underserved communities in Raleigh. Roess additionally gained experience working in healthcare clinics in Garner and Chicago, Illinois.

Newly conferred with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Roess is currently working as a research assistant in Dr. Nascone-Yoder’s lab with his sights set on achieving his dream of attending medical school. Roess believes that it would be his duty and honor to use his education and experiences to help better the community around him, especially in the face of the global health crisis.

Roess is thankful for the continued support and motivation of his parents, Ed and Lisa; his siblings, Nick, Breanne and Kerri; his grandparents, Jack and Dolores; and his girlfriend, Averie.

Roess’ advice for the class of 2020:

“Do not be intimidated out of trying something new. It’s easy to look at other people and think they are more confident or more intelligent, but in reality, they are still trying to figure things out, just like you.”

Chloe Whealan

B.A. Psychology, Spring 2020

Chloe Whealan is a spring 2020 graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and she is excited to be able to address her fellow graduates as a student commencement speaker.

“NC State believed in me and helped me become who I am today.”

Born in Waldwick, New Jersey, Whealan moved to Etowah, North Carolina, before attending NC State. She graduated in May with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in English.

A self-described “lunatic with school spirit for NC State,” Whealan was actively involved on campus in several university departments during her four years here. She had the opportunity to work in the Scholars and Honors College, the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, and with University Wellness and Recreation.

Read more about Chloe

Off-campus​, Whealan has volunteered with Girl Scouts of the USA, as well as with her home church in western North Carolina. She is extremely passionate about mental health education and advocacy, especially in children. Whealan’s grassroots community work advocating for the de-stigmatization of mental health and better access to mental health resources showcases her dedication to community engagement and service.

Whealan intends to continue her education and pursue her master’s degree in school counseling, concentrating her studies in early childhood development. She looks forward to becoming an elementary school counselor in the future and is excited to work with children and help them establish strong foundations for themselves. Whealan sees psychology as an invitation to take action, and looks ​forward to a lifetime of embracing similarities and bridging differences between people.

“I would like to thank a few people who have made my college experience even more memorable,” Whealan says. “Thank you Dr. Rupert Nacoste for truly changing the way I see the world…[and] my parents for pushing me to believe in myself. And lastly, I’d like to thank my sister Jenna for always inspiring me to be the best version of myself.”

Whealan’s advice to the graduating class:

“Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. No one truly grows if we’re always comfortable. The lessons we learn when we’re uncomfortable are ones to hold on to for the rest of our lives.”


We are excited to announce that all spring, summer and fall 2020 graduates will receive a one-year complimentary membership in the NC State Alumni Association!

Staying connected is more important now than ever, and what better way to stay connected to your alma mater than as a member of your Alumni Association?

Read all about membership benefits on the website, including access to a powerful alumni network, career coaching, business discounts and more.

More information about this gift from the Alumni Association and the Office of the Provost will be available soon.


The Division of Enrollment Management and Services would like to give a special thanks to:

Christina Hammock Koch, NASA, NC State University Chorale, DELTA, DASA, ARTS NC State, University Communications and Marketing, NC State Alumni Association, University Athletics, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Technician, NC State Libraries, Office of Information Technology, Talley Student Union, University Theatre, Rave! Events, Dr. Nathan Leaf, Brendan Roess, Chloe Whealan, Melanie Flowers, Emma Carter McBride, Addy Holmes, Caleb White, Elizabeth Esder, Aadithi Arasu, Alyssa McInnis, Ben Kinney, Tom Cabaniss, Terry Hutchens, Sean Kernick, Chris “The Poetry Fox” Vitiello and faculty, staff, graduates, friends and loves ones who submitted content. 

Frequently Asked

University Commencement

How will graduates be recognized during commencement?

Graduates’ names will be displayed within the commencement program booklet. Graduates are encouraged to check their Privacy Settings in MyPack Portal to ensure that their names will be in the program. See the ​details here.

Will there be a program?

A downloadable, printable commencement program will be made available on the day of the ceremony​ and will include the list of graduates’ names. Graduates are encouraged to check their Privacy Settings in MyPack Portal to ensure that their names will be listed in the program. See the ​details here.

Who is going to give the commencement address?

We are so excited to announce that NASA astronaut and NC State alumna Christina H. Koch will be the 2020 commencement speaker. Read more about her above

Will I be able to watch the ceremony after it is broadcast?

Yes! We will make the full video of the ceremony available on our website immediately after it has streamed on Friday, Dec. 4. We will also send a link to all graduates and their families.

Will 2020 graduates be able to come back to campus to “walk” for a future commencement ceremony?

Doctoral Degree Graduates:
At the main university commencement ceremony, only doctoral and DVM degree candidates participate in the “walk” across the stage. Because doctoral graduates do traditionally “walk” at the main university ceremony, we understand your desire to come back to participate in a future ceremony when that might be possible. While we have not finalized these details yet with the Graduate School, we anticipate being able to welcome 2020 graduates back to participate in the future. We will be sure to contact all 2020 graduates and make announcements as necessary when we know more. Participation in a future college or departmental commencement ceremony will be left to the discretion of the respective departments.

Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree Graduates:
Master’s and bachelor’s degree candidates traditionally “walk” only at their colleges and departmental ceremony. Participation in a future college or departmental commencement ceremony will be left to the discretion of the respective departments.

When will I receive my diploma?

Graduates of spring and summer 2020 should have already received your diplomas. If you have not, please contact for assistance.

Diplomas for fall 2020 graduates will be mailed after final degree clearance, which begins in early December. Graduates should receive their diplomas by late January 2021.

Will the virtual ceremony be accessible?

Yes. The ceremony will have closed-captioning available.


Management and Services

2831 Thurman Drive
Campus Box 7528
Raleigh, NC 27695

Phone: 919.515.NCSU (6278)

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