Like many of his classmates, Tanner Compton, a fifth-year senior majoring in mechanical engineering, was disappointed to learn that NC State’s graduation ceremony had been postponed due to COVID-19. But soon after he read the news, he came across another headline on the Internet that caught his attention—and gave him an idea.
“I remember seeing an article about how some students in Japan had held a graduation ceremony on Minecraft, and I was excited to try to organize something similar,” Compton said. “I had actually never played Minecraft before, but recognizing the creativity and community that it offered made it seem like a great program in which to host a virtual graduation.”
So, that’s exactly what Compton did. He started by reaching out to some of his friends in the NC State marching band who are seasoned Minecraft gamers. Alex Peck created a special server for the event, and Julian Labrozzi and Michael Pettruny built and exported a virtual rendition of PNC Arena within the game. From there, Compton shared the event on Facebook and invited other friends to participate.
On the big day, Compton addressed dozens of his digital peers on a virtual stage, giving remarks and announcing the names of those who had signed up to attend.
In addition to organizing a virtual graduation ceremony, Compton has been a leader in person at NC State as well. He has been a member of the NC State marching and basketball pep bands for all five years of college. He has also been involved in Cru, a campus Christian ministry, and now plans to intern with Cru internationally for a year in East Asia.
See how the rest of the Class of 2020 celebrated graduation on the NC State University Twitter account.