Minnesota Law

Fall 2020
For the Record

Commencement 2020

Minnesota Law Holds its First-Ever Virtual Commencement

ON MAY 16, the Law School held the first virtual commencement ceremony in its 132-year history. A video program lasting approximately a half hour celebrated the class of 2020, which included 204 J.D. graduates, 49 LL.M. graduates, and 10 Master of Science in Patent Law (M.S.P.L.) graduates.

Watch the 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Law School commencement is traditionally held at Northrop Auditorium, but the Law School pivoted to a virtual ceremony this year in light of the pandemic-related restrictions on public gatherings that went into effect in March. The commencement video received more than 1,500 views.

The commencement website launched by the Law School also included individual videos with well-wishes from more than 50 faculty, staff, and alumni; a digital flipbook version of a traditional commencement program; and downloadable photos of the graduating classes. In the mail, graduates received tassels, diploma cases, and branded business card holders in an effort to bring a small piece of the typical in-person ceremony to each of their homes.

“While this is not our usual commencement, it is an occasion to celebrate all of you, our students, along with friends and family,” said Dean Garry W. Jenkins, William S.Pattee Professor of Law. “Even though I cannot shake your hand in person to say good job or well done, we send you off into the world ready. Stay true to yourself, and continue to fight for justice.”

The 2020 recipients of the Stanley V. Kinyon Teaching Awards, announced during the video, were Professor Alexandra Klass (tenured faculty); Professor Jean Sanderson (clinical faculty); and Professor Andrew Leiendecker ’17 (adjunct faculty). 

Professors Klass and Sanderson delivered remarks to the graduates, as did the student speakers for each class: Allan Attali (LL.M.), Kenzie Gerber (J.D.), and Jackson Satterlee (M.S.P.L.).

Six graduating students were recognized with awards at the virtual ceremony: Jackie Fielding (William B. Lockhart Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Leadership, and Service); Michelle Valeria Cardona Vinasco and Eduardo Enrique Castro II (Equity & Diversity Award); Emily Franco and Kimberly Medina (Excellence in Public Service Award); and Emily Franco and Connor Riley Shaull (Most Outstanding Contribution Award).

The ceremony concluded with virtual performances by the TORT singers and the Minnesota Orchestra. Congratulations to all the 2020 graduates, and welcome to the Minnesota Law alumni community!