Class of 2020

Virtual Commencement Celebrates Class of 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Class of 2020 got some well-deserved “Pomp and Circumstance” Saturday, but the celebration was unlike any other in the Carlson School’s history.

For the first time, the school—along with the entire University of Minnesota system—hosted a virtual commencement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No Carlson School class has faced the final exam of a global pandemic,” Dean Sri Zaheer wrote to graduates. “With resilience, creativity, and a focus on helping others, I’m proud to say you’ve collectively passed with flying colors—inspiring your fellow students, faculty, staff, and me, along the way.”

The theme of the U of M commencement was “Hail to Thee,” the University’s alma mater, and a reference from Minnesota’s state song, which was chosen to reflect the University’s admiration for graduates' incredible resilience in these stressful times. The commencement address was given by President Joan T.A. Gabel, and commencement speakers included Regent Mike O. Kenyanya, Professor Emeritus John S. Wright, and Regents Professor at the School of Public Health and the Director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Michael Osterholm. Board of Regents Chair Ken Powell conferred degrees for all of the 17,000+ graduates in the U of M System.

This year’s Carlson School graduating class included:

Students can view the ceremony in its entirety by visiting the commencement website through June 30, 2020.

Undergraduates Honored with Student Achievement Awards

Several undergraduate students from the Class of 2020 garnered special recognition for their achievements at the Carlson School. 

Ifeoluwa Ekunsanmi received the Tomato Can Loving Cup Award, the school’s highest honor for an undergraduate student, and Connor Kraft, Marisa Larson, and Luke Walker won the Academic Excellence Award as the school’s highest-ranking undergraduates scholastically.

The Dean's Thesis Award, given to the best undergraduate honors thesis, also went to Walker for the thesis "Friend or foe: The antecedents and consequences of being a devil’s advocate.” Walker was advised by Pri Shah, associate professor in the Work & Organizations Department.

Cameron Herbert was selected as the undergraduate commencement speaker and will deliver remarks at an in-person gathering which will be scheduled when it is safe to do so.