Cornell to salute Class of 2020 with virtual toast

The Class of 2020 faced unprecedented challenges this academic year, overcoming unforeseen obstacles to complete their final semester of education, President Martha E. Pollack said in a video message to Cornell’s newest alumni May 23.

While Cornell has postponed its formal on-campus Commencement ceremony this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will still graduate nearly 6,000 students. A “virtual toast” on May 23 will welcome students into the alumni family, as alumni will be posting congratulatory photos and messages on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Cornell2020.

“Throughout the unprecedented events of these past months, as our community’s lives and expectations have been upended, reshaped and upended again, our hearts have been most of all with you: our graduating seniors,” Pollack said on behalf of the university’s academic leadership, recognizing the Class of 2020.

“Since the day you arrived at Cornell, all of you expected to end your time on campus the way generations of Cornellians have: celebrating Commencement in Ithaca, with caps and gowns, families and friends,” she said. “That is what all of you deserve, and it is exactly what we will do, as soon as we responsibly can.

“And I can’t wait to celebrate with you: a class that will always have its own place in the history of Cornell.”

As difficult as the events of this year have been, the Class of 2020 should take pride in what the Cornell community has done, Pollack said. “We put the lives and health of others ahead of our own disappointments, and we found new and different and creative ways to continue to learn, continue to connect and continue to pursue our Cornell mission.

“… If there’s one thing we all learned this year,” Pollack said, “it’s that Cornell is more than just a place. It is an ethos, it is a community, and it is who we are, wherever we are. I am so very proud of each and every one of you.”

This year’s graduates finished coursework in either September or December 2019, or this spring. Cornell expects to award bachelor’s degrees to 3,312 undergraduates. There are approximately 1,373 students who will receive research degrees – including master’s degrees and Ph.D.s – and professional master’s degrees. And about 1,192 students will earn professional degrees. (These figures are likely to change as students defend dissertations and complete other end-of-year academic requirements.)

Diplomas will be mailed to students, as they are every year, on a rolling basis starting in mid to late June. For the first time, this year students will also receive diplomas by email.


Degrees to be conferred

Undergraduate degrees: 3,312

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 724

College of Architecture, Art and Planning: 112

College of Arts and Sciences: 996

School of Hotel Administration: 182

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management: 143

College of Engineering: 659

College of Human Ecology: 238

School of Industrial and Labor Relations: 258


Graduate degrees: 1,373

Master’s degrees: 245

Doctoral degrees (Ph.D.): 116

Professional master’s and other graduate degrees: 1,012


Professional degrees: 1,192

Cornell Law School: 326

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (MBA): 764

College of Veterinary Medicine: 102