Duke Law celebrated the Class of 2020 with a Recognition Ceremony in Page Auditorium on Sept. 25. Dean Kerry Abrams welcomed more than 100 alumni in caps and gowns, as well as cheering family and friends, and many more via livestream, to recognize, in person, their achievement in completing their legal studies and launching their careers as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded.
“The more than 300 members of the Class of 2020 are unique not just because they were the first to graduate having taken classes on Zoom and final exams from home,” said Abrams. “They were also the first class to hold their graduation celebration online, with family and friends watching live from around the world.”
“Sometimes, it takes extraordinary effort to choose to celebrate when we feel like we’re just trying to survive. But it may be that our darkest hours are the most important ones to reach for things to celebrate in life.”— Professor Nita Farahany ’04, PhD ’06
Speaking on behalf of her JD and LLM classmates, Maddy Mumma ’20 celebrated the diverse post-graduate achievements, activities, and milestones — professional, pro bono, and personal — they had reported. “But when asked what you were proud of accomplishing this past year, one answer was far and beyond the most common, and I was happy to see that it was unrelated to work,” she said. “Most of us were proudest of having maintained and strengthened relationships with family and friends, old and new, during a largely virtual year, including our Duke Law classmates. That’s quite the accomplishment given all that we have been through.”
Nita Farahany ’04, PhD ’06, the Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law and professor of philosophy, impressed on the class the importance of celebration “for resilience, character, and living a meaningful life.”
Said Farahany: “Sometimes, it takes extraordinary effort to choose to celebrate when we feel like we’re just trying to survive. But it may be that our darkest hours are the most important ones to reach for things to celebrate in life. …
“Before you turn your focus back to your next big challenge or life goal, take some time, belated as it is, to really soak up your accomplishment of graduating from law school. Our celebrations may not look like they used to — they may be smaller, masked, and more distanced from one another. But it’s never been more important to find new ways to mark the occasion.”