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University of Maryland Announces Plans for Commencement Celebration, Speaker Peter Chapman

IonQ Inc. President and CEO will address Spring 2021 and Recent Past Graduates in Ceremony at Maryland Stadium


Katie Lawson , 301-405-4622


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announces today plans to celebrate 2021 spring graduates. Spring 2021 commencement exercises will be conducted in-person at Maryland Stadium, and live-streamed at on Friday, May 21, 2021. In collaboration with Prince George’s County, plans for commencement prioritize safety while celebrating the success of graduates.

The ceremony will include remarks from Peter Chapman, President and CEO of IonQ, an industry leader in quantum computing, founded on UMD research among others, and headquartered in the University of Maryland Discovery District.

"All of us at IonQ are very proud to call UMD home, just as I am very proud to share this important moment with the Class of 2021,” said Chapman. “Now more than ever, these young people represent our shared faith in a better future, driven by bold thinking right here in Maryland. I hope only to inspire them, the next generation of builders, as they have already inspired me."

Before coming to IonQ in 2019, Chapman spent nearly five years as a director of engineering for Amazon Prime, managing hundreds of engineers to ensure speedy delivery, including Amazon’s two-days-or-less shipping option. Along his tech and entrepreneurial journey, he made software breakthroughs that protect mutual funds, support e-readers, and assist the blind in reading; he founded the video game company Level Systems Inc., and invented the first sheet music-reading synthesizer capable of recreating orchestral instruments. Chapman also helped create the world’s first fully automated algorithmic trading system for the stock and commodity markets. The son of a NASA scientist-astronaut, Chapman began his career at age 16 in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Lab.

"I share Peter’s passion for the future of computing and technological advancements as we aim to solve many of the grand challenges of our time," said Darryll J. Pines, University of Maryland President. "I look forward to his compelling, insightful remarks as he addresses our graduates who have persevered through a challenging year, and I thank him for his continued commitment to excellence in College Park."

Graduates plus two guests are invited to attend physically distanced commencement activities in person at Maryland Stadium. Based on the school or college of the graduate, they will be invited to attend one of two main commencement ceremonies on campus. Maryland will also invite Spring 2020 and Winter 2020 graduates back to campus to be celebrated in person on May 21.

Individual colleges and schools will host their commencement ceremonies virtually on Thursday, May 20 featuring remarks from Deans and displaying the names of every graduate.

Information about commencement, including tickets, regalia, and safety measures required to attend in person are available at, and additional information will be added as it becomes available.

All campus events are contingent on evolving COVID-19 conditions and guidelines from the Prince George's County health department. Hosting successful in-person commencement ceremonies will depend on everyone doing their part, and remaining diligent in following the university’s 4 Maryland guidelines.



Colleges and Schools:

A. James Clark School of Engineering Alumni Association Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center College of Agriculture and Natural Resources College of Arts and Humanities College of Behavioral and Social Sciences College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences College of Education College of Information Studies Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation School of Public Health School of Public Policy

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