The MSL Class of 2020, comprised of nearly 90 residential and online students, has officially graduated! This year’s graduating class was special in more ways than we can count, but a few attributes that make the class unforgettable include their tenacity, resilience, confidence, and camaraderie displayed throughout the program – oh, and completing their degrees during a global pandemic, too. This graduation also represents an important milestone for the MSL program: the Class of 2020 includes the first graduates of the MSL online format! The inaugural online class of nine students includes Fayyaz Sheikh, Elizabeth Sosic, Azeem Khan, Garrett Gilbreath, Isabela Bagi, Jimmy Steier, Jenny Dobry, Shawn Embry, and Matt Rubin! These nine students are the first of many to come – we now have close to 90 students studying in the online format of the MSL Program.
While we might have expected less fanfare surrounding graduation because of the global pandemic and economic crisis, we actually managed some pretty awesome fanfare. The Class of 2020 came together for multiple celebrations via Zoom, starting with the MSL Grad Party, where we honored the graduating students with the announcement of MSL superlatives voted on by the graduating class, a photo slideshow that looked back on this past year in the MSL program, and an open mic session that allowed students to reflect on their accomplishments and their time in the MSL program.
Immediately following the Grad Party, students convened with faculty and staff for a lively virtual karaoke party complete with an MSL 2020 Cocktail/Mocktail. The MSL program has a long-standing tradition of celebrating graduation with a karaoke session, and we were thrilled to be able to continue the tradition over Zoom; thanks to MSL student Cory Cain for setting up our Cory-oke session! Some of our favorite moments from the karaoke session included Admissions Manager Ashlee Hardgrave’s performance of Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son of A Preacher Man’, MSL online student Cory Cain’s performance of Josh Turner’s ‘Your Man’, Professor K.M. Zouhary’s performance of Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ and a group sing-a-long to Garth Brooks’ ‘Friends in Low Places.’
Later in the week, we celebrated the Class of 2020 at a (slightly more) formal reception with the graduates, their family and friends, and MSL faculty and staff. We were graced with remarks from two graduating students: Matt Rubin, from the online format, and Justin Chae, from the residential format. Earlier in the semester, MSL graduating students had made their selections for the Outstanding Faculty awards; at the reception, graduating MSL student Liz Sosic introduced the outstanding online format professor, Susan Provenzano and graduating student Adarsh Sukhwal introduced the outstanding residential format professor, K.M. Zouhary. Both professors spoke at the reception and thanked the students for these honors. One highlight of the reception was a spoken word presentation from graduating student Summer Durant; you’ll definitely want to check this out. The reception also featured a talk from, faculty speaker Professor Daniel Rodriguez, former Dean of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and a toast from Professor Peter DiCola (using the MSL Cocktail/Mocktail, of course).
As the reception came to a close, members of the graduating class of 2020 participated in a roll call and we got to see all of the family and friends cheering for their favorite graduate – it was wonderful to feel the obvious pride and joy that accompanied our graduates’ achievements. Please check out this video for a taste of the roll call!
As Grad Week wrapped up, the graduating students joined MSL faculty and staff for a watch party of the Northwestern Law School Convocation Ceremony, which featured addresses from Dean Kim Yuracko, convocation speaker Faith Gay, and student speakers – including our very own Bridgette McCullough (MSL ’20)! And, as the last official event of gradua tion week, Professor Steve Reed delivered ‘The Last Lecture’ – a time-honored Northwestern Law School tradition.
We are confident the Class of 2020 will make their mark on the world and we wish all graduating students the best as they embark on their next chapter. Congratulations to all; stay in touch!