Dear Members of the Cornell Law School Class of 2021,
Thank you for your extraordinary patience and graciousness as we all await additional information about what form your graduation ceremonies will take. As a reminder, graduation at Cornell consists of two ceremonies: Convocation, the Law School’s individual graduate recognition ceremony, and Commencement, the University-wide ceremony for graduates of all schools and colleges.
University Commencement. We write now to share the limited information we have about graduation with you. University Commencement is scheduled for May 30, 2021. You may have seen the University Commencement Office’s recent announcement that the University hopes to make a final decision about the format of Commencement activities sometime in March. Due to public health restrictions, it is unlikely that any guests will be permitted on campus for any in-person celebration, if in-person celebrations are possible. The University discourages guests from making nonrefundable travel arrangements.
Law School Convocation. Any decisions about University Commencement will inform the format of the Law School’s Convocation. After carefully considering the continuing public health risk and ongoing uncertainty due to COVID-19, we have decided to host the Law School’s Convocation virtually on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Additionally, we continue to advocate for and to explore the feasibility of some in-person, physically-distanced component for graduating law students in small groups. We aim to announce a final decision about any in-person aspects of Convocation no later than March 31, 2021. If we are able to have some in-person elements, a livestream will be available for you to share with your families and friends. It also will be recorded and made available on the Law School website for you and your loved ones to enjoy long after May 22d. Unfortunately, family and other guests will not be permitted to attend if any in-person aspects of the Law School Convocation program are possible.
We know this is not the news for which you hoped. Just as you have looked forward to having those closest to you celebrate your achievements, we have very much looked forward to the opportunity to meet those who have supported you throughout your law school journey. It is disappointing to acknowledge that because of the pandemic, the large in-person ceremonies that would normally mark the culmination of your studies are not likely to occur in the way all of us envisioned when you first enrolled at Cornell. As difficult as it is to deliver this news, we know that further delays in making any announcement would exacerbate rather than alleviate the uncertainty you are facing due to the global pandemic. Because none of us can predict what the public health situation will be in a few months, we wanted to share this information now so you and those who want to share this important day with you can plan accordingly. In whatever format, we are excited to celebrate with you as you enter the ranks of lawyers in the best sense.
Jens D. Ohlin
Interim Dean and Professor of Law
Markeisha J. Miner
Dean of Students