Recognizing our graduates through virtual ceremonies

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This is a graduation season like no other that Washington University in St. Louis has experienced in its 167-year history.

When Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announced March 16 in a heartfelt video message to the Class of 2020 that the May 15 Commencement ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, he acknowledged that it must feel like a “dagger to the heart.”

He also noted that the university would find ways to come together as a community — albeit virtually until it is safe to do so in person — “to mark the very special occasion of your graduation and the commencement of your new roles as Washington University alumni.”

While they can never replace the exhilaration of being in a cap and gown sitting in Brookings Quadrangle surrounded by friends, family and faculty, or walking across the stage — diploma in hand — during school recognition ceremonies, plans are in place to recognize our graduates’ important milestone through online ceremonies and celebrations.

The Olin Business School was the first to recognize its students when it released virtual graduation videos May 8 to graduates of its Executive MBA programs.

The graduates of those programs heard messages from Mark P. Taylor, dean and the Donald Danforth Jr. Distinguished Professor of Finance; Olin faculty; and fellow students.

Below is a list of dates and times when each school will post its virtual graduation and celebrations, along with scheduled speakers.

In addition to the speakers listed, Chancellor Martin also prepared video remarks for all the schools’ ceremonies.

Thursday, May 14

Noon Brown School

Mary McKay, the Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School; and student speaker Tirae Abernathy, candidate for a master’s in public health

View the Brown School ceremony.

7 p.m. Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts; keynote speakers Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects, Dublin, and winners of the 2020 Pritzker Prize; and alumni speaker Susan Barrett (BA and BFA ’89; MArch ’94), president and founder of Barrett Barrera Projects

View the Sam Fox School recognition ceremony. 

Friday,  May 15

McKelvey School of Engineering

Aaron F. Bobick, dean of the McKelvey School of Engineering and the James M. McKelvey Professor

View the McKelvey School of Engineering recognition ceremony.

11:30 a.m. Olin Business School undergraduate program

Dean Taylor; faculty speaker Michael McLaughlin, lecturer in finance and Reid Faculty Award winner; and student speaker Alexis Marin “Lexi” Jackson, candidate for the bachelor’s degree in business administration

View the Olin Business School recognition ceremonies.

Noon College of Arts & Sciences

Jennifer R. Smith, dean and professor of earth and planetary science​s; faculty speaker Janet Duchek, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences; and student speaker Ruth Durrell, bachelor’s degree candidate in education and in sociology

View the Arts & Sciences recognition ceremony.

Noon University College

Heather A. Corcoran, interim dean of University College and vice provost

View the University College recognition ceremony.

1 p.m. School of Law

Nancy Staudt, dean of the School of Law and the Howard and Caroline Cayne Professor of Law; faculty speakers Pauline T. Kim, the Daniel Noyes Kirby Professor of Law; and Greg P. Magarian, the Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law; and student speakers Shontee Pant, Lennox Mark and Emma Stewart, juris doctor candidates, and Jingsheng (Lucy) Yang, master of laws candidate

View the School of Law recognition ceremony.

1 p.m. Program in Occupational Therapy (Medicine)

Lisa Tabor Connor, the Elias Michael Executive Director of the Program in Occupational Therapy; keynote speaker Duana Russell-Thomas, clinical specialist with the program; faculty speaker Quinn Tyminski; and student speakers Sofia Monarrez, candidate for master’s in occupational therapy, and Leanna Namovic, candidate for doctorate

View the Program in Occupational Therapy recognition ceremony.

1:30 p.m. Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (Medicine)

William W. Clark, director of the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences

View the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences recognition ceremony.

1:30 p.m. Program in Physical Therapy (Medicine)

Gammon M. Earhart, director of the Program in Physical Therapy; faculty speaker Stacy Tylka, associate professor of physical therapy;  and student speaker Jacob Raecker, doctor of physical therapy candidate.

3 p.m. Olin Business School graduate programs

Dean Taylor; faculty speakers Aber Elsaleiby, visiting assistant professor; Tom Fields, senior lecturer in accounting; Hillary Anger Elfenbein, the John Wallace, Jr. and Ellen Wallace Distinguished Professor; and Guofu Zhou, the Frederick Bierman and James E. Spears Professor of Finance, all Reid Faculty Award winners; and student speaker Brinda Gupta, degree candidate for a master’s in business administration

View the Olin Business School recognition ceremonies.

3 p.m. School of Medicine Doctor of Medicine

David H. Perlmutter, MD, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor; and student speaker Averey D. Strong, class president and candidate for doctor of medicine

View the MD recognition ceremony. 

To view a list of the affinity programs’ virtual recognition ceremonies, visit the Commencement website. The dates and times for those programs’ ceremonies will be posted by noon Wednesday, May 13.

Also, visit Postcards of Appreciation that highlight students who embody the spirit of the Class of 2020.

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