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MSU takes security precautions for its virtual graduation ceremony

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Posted at 7:09 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 19:09:48-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University is saying "hats off" to the departments that are spending countless hours taking this major milestone from the stage to the screen.

"We have probably spent three or four straight-week hours looking at things, configuring things making sure that everything is sped up," said Michael Zakhem, Interim Director of Academic Technology.

Although MSU has been live-streaming their graduations since last spring as an extra way to view the event, Saturday's virtual ceremony brings extra challenges.

"The biggest challenge was figuring out what platform do we use. How can we make sure it's the one that works the best and that we can get it to everybody the easiest way possible," said Zakhem.

The university settled on a system that the 30-minute ceremony can be viewed live on their website and on Facebook, which can also be played back later.

"You can really view it from anywhere."

Even though the ceremony is online, the departments are still taking security precautions. Recently, other online commencements around the country, have been hacked.

"That is something we thought about from the get-go," said Brant Wells, the Senior Director at WKAR. "That's why we are using a system that is a 'one point to many'."

"We are streaming out so we don't have to worry about people connecting in and that is what you saw in other graduations," explained Zakhem. "They had people connecting in and when they did that, it became a two-way communication and opened up the door for hacking."

During the ceremony, students will hear from President Stanley and prerecorded messages from alumni.

The College of Music will also perform, hoping to make the virtual ceremony feel more personal.

"We want to have it so that there is still that gathering so that everyone can come together at one single moment and that everyone can feel part of the Spartan community," said Wells.

The ceremony begins online at 10 a.m this Saturday, May 16.

The thousands of members of the Class of 2020 will be invited to participate in a future in-person commencement when it is safe to have one.

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