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Class of 2020 returns for joyful Commencement

Class of 2020 Commencement

Sixteen months after receiving their degrees, the Class of 2020 – whose final year at Cornell was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic – donned caps and gowns at last, gathering in person at Schoellkopf Field for a ceremony that was at turns jubilant and thoughtful.

“I know that some of us felt this day might never come – but here we are,” President Martha E. Pollack told the crowd of 1,860 graduates and 3,650 guests. “I am just so incredibly glad to have you here today, celebrating your Cornell commencement the way a Cornell commencement should be celebrated: on Schoellkopf Field, in caps and gowns, on one of those always-sunny Ithaca days.”

The ceremony – which honored 2020 undergrads, graduate and professional students, as well as August 2019 and December 2019 graduates – took place as part of Homecoming. Following Pollack’s speech, actor Leslie Odom Jr. addressed the graduates virtually, offering advice and recounting how he felt when Lin-Manuel Miranda offered him the role of Aaron Burr in the musical “Hamilton.”