Students' Names Were Dramatically Mispronounced During Graduation — Here's What the University Says Went Wrong

Videos from Thomas Jefferson University's 2024 commencement have gone viral after the announcer mispronounced several students' names during the ceremony

<p>ohn Greim/LightRocket via Getty</p> Thomas Jefferson University

ohn Greim/LightRocket via Getty

Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University is apologizing after several blunders at the school's May 9 graduation ceremony have been compared to a Key and Peele skit.

The Philadelphia school's College of Nursing held commencement on Thursday, during which a presenter seemed to struggle through the pronunciation of many students' names as they accepted their diplomas and crossed the stage.

In several clips shared on TikTok, the presenter struggled to pronounce common names including Elizabeth, Stephanie and Thomas throughout the ceremony. One TikToker wrote that they “forgot I was at my sisters nursing graduation and thought it was a Key and Peele skit,” in reference to the famous "Substitute Teacher” skit from Comedy Central’s 2012-2015 sketch series in which actor Keegan Michael-Key humorously mispronounces students' names during a roll call.

In yet another TikTok of the ceremony, the announcer apologizes to the graduates, saying, "My apologies for the phonetic spelling or pronunciation of the names that was on the cards, I would have been better just reading from the book."

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In the official statement to PEOPLE, the university said that “the leadership and faculty of Thomas Jefferson University extend our sincerest apologies for the mispronunciations of the names of several of our graduating nursing students during our recent commencement ceremony."

"This ceremony is a celebration of the significant achievements of our students, and each graduate deserves to have their name honored correctly on this pivotal day," continued the statement.

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“The mispronunciations occurred due to the way phonetic spellings were presented on the speaker’s cards, which was noted when the presenter apologized during the ceremony," said Thomas Jefferson. "This unfortunate error does not reflect the immense respect we have for our graduates and the value we place on their hard-earned accomplishments.”

The school also shared the apology on social media.

According to Thomas Jefferson's website, the school will hold three more graduation ceremonies on May 21 and May 22.

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