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Virtual Commencement Concludes With Redirect to Alumni Giving Page


Photo by Alicia Lopez / The Daily Pennsylvanian

“Although we are apart, we celebrate virtually with you as you transition from Penn students to Penn alumni,” University President Amy Gutmann concluded the class of 2020 virtual commencement ceremony. As parents and grandparents huddled around computer screens wiped tears from their faces and proudly looked over at their new Penn graduates, the screens flashed suddenly. Penn’s latest alumni checked their devices to find the commencement ceremony had redirected to The Penn Fund website. 

A pop-up message complete with virtual confetti appeared saying, “Congratulations, class of 2020! What better way to celebrate your graduation than to make a gift to The Penn Fund?” “At first, I thought it was a virus,” new graduate Aakash Nayar stated, “but then I realized that it was much worse”. Nayar admitted that he is terrified that similar messages will soon be coming by both electronic and standard mail services.  

Similarly scared, graduate Grace Bush went so far as to cancel her graduation plans, telling her family to “hide the decorations” and “act like [the graduation] had never happened” in hopes that not celebrating would cause the University to think she was still a junior. While hiding in her room, a Penn Fund postcard mysteriously slid under her bedroom door. 

María Sanchez (C ‘20) boldly attempted to close out of The Penn Fund redirect page without making a donation. She found that the page would not close and that she was unable to use her laptop before typing in her credit card information. “I tried to click the $5 option, but it wouldn’t accept anything less than $50,” lamented María. 

Amy Gutmann and the rest of the Penn administration did not seem concerned by the apparent "technology glitch." When asked about it, Gutmann reported, “It was very successful. Overall, a huge win for the school!” After being met with looks of concern, she quickly added “Oooooh, the technology glitch,” she interrupted herself to wink at Dean Fluharty, “sorry, I thought we were talking about the commencement ceremony.”