It wasn’t like past ceremonies, but that might make it a little more memorable in the long run.
Mitchell Hamline School of Law hosted an online celebration Sunday for its more than 250 newest graduates. The presentation included a slideshow of photos of students throughout their time in law school, along with videos from Lisa Gray, chair of the board of trustees; interim President and Dean Peter Knapp; Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis; and others.
The presentation (available below) lasted about 15 minutes and was followed by a more private Zoom call with students, faculty, and staff.
“Job well done!” exclaimed Reginald Snell Sr. from Huntsville, Ala. – his son Reginald Jr. was a graduate.
Dean of Students Lynn LeMoine moderated the Zoom call, during which participants shared memories of their time in law school and introduced their families and friends who were with them on the call. Class members noted family members who had died before seeing their loved one graduate, and others who were also celebrating birthdays and other milestones.
The events were not a virtual commencement – for example, student names were not read. This was based on student feedback that they instead wanted to be part of future in-person commencement ceremonies.
Memories were shared, from overcoming exam mishaps in their 1L year to recollections of lots of ice cream breaks (including one student who accidentally ate Dean Mark Gordon’s ice cream in London).
“Does absence make the heart grow fonder?” pondered Jason Rex Tolliver ’20, referencing the final weeks of the semester being conducted online. “Like a good lawyer, I’ll answer ‘it depends.’”
Tolliver deferred enrollment for a year, during which the school’s EJD option was created, which meant he could attend school as a blended-learning student. He’s the current vice chancellor for student affairs at University of Illinois Chicago.
“It depends what you felt about the thing before it went away,” he continued. “And for me, absence has definitely made me grow fonder of Mitchell Hamline.”