Graduation 2020

Congratulations to the KU Law Class of 2020

Congratulations to the KU Law Class of 2020! | #KUgrads

Although the University of Kansas 2020 Commencement ceremony and KU School of Law Hooding Ceremony have been postponed, we still want to recognize and celebrate our incredible graduating class.

To the Class of 2020, the KU Law community is proud of all your hard work in the past three years, and we regret that we will not be able to get together in person this spring to honor your achievements. You'll find video messages from Dean Stephen Mazza and members of the KU Law faculty on this page. We hope to be able to celebrate with you in person soon.

Message from Dean Stephen Mazza to the Class of 2020

Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law, addresses the 2020 graduating class.

KU Law Faculty Message to the Class of 2020

Class of 2020, congratulations from all the faculty and staff at KU Law!

Student Award Recipients

2020 student award recipients - KU School of Law

Ten KU School of Law graduates from the Class of 2020 will receive awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and the community. This year's student award recipients are:

  • Maggie Brakeville, Benton, Louisiana: Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
  • Terra Brockman, Overland Park: Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
  • Denise Dantzler, Omaha, Nebraska: Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership, and Service Award
  • Diana Jarek, Republic, Missouri: Janean Meigs Memorial Award in Law
  • Andi Leuszler, Lenexa: Robert F. Bennett Student Award
  • Hannah Lustman, St. Louis: Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
  • Joy Merklen, Bali, Indonesia: Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
  • Sasha Raab, Stilwell: Law Class of 1949 Award for Leadership
  • Diana Stanley, Wichita: Robert F. Bennett Student Award
  • Lewis Walton, East St. Louis, Illinois: Law Class of 1949 Award for Leadership

Emily Matta, of Wichita, was selected to serve as the 2020 banner carrier, an honor bestowed upon a student who exemplifies excellence in their program. 

2020 KU Graduate Commemoration

The university hosted an online event commemorating KU's Class of 2020 on May 17. Videos from the program are available at 2020grads.ku.edu.

Celebrate on Social Media | #KUgrads

Follow KU Law on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more highlights about the 2020 graduating class. You can find printable posters, banners, GIFs and stickers on KU's 2020 Grads page.

Profiles of Graduating Students

Visit the KU Law Blog for a series of posts highlighting just a few of the exceptional members of the Class of 2020. 

Graduate Profile: Denise Dantzler, L'20
Accomplished student to pursue career in patent law

Graduate Profile: Cara Beck, L'20
Dedicated student is headed to a federal clerkship after graduation

Graduate Profile: Terra Brockman, L'20
Outstanding graduate distinguishes herself through leadership, service

Graduate Profile: Harrison Rosenthal, L'20
Dual-degree student pursues law, journalism and well-being

Graduate Profile: Sasha Raab, L'20
Non-traditional student balances law school, being a mom

Graduate Profile: Tara Mollhagen Shepherd, L’20
Exemplary student to pursue career in business and tax law

Graduate Profile: TJ Blake, L’20
Student succeeds with engagement outside the classroom

Graduate Profile: Brett Sitts, L’20
Active student took on law school with an open mind

Diplomas and Class Composite Picture

The law school will mail diplomas and Class of 2020 composite pictures to graduates this summer, beginning in mid-July. If you have any questions about receiving your diploma, please contact Vicki Palmer at vpalmer@ku.edu.

Hooding Ceremony and KU Commencement: Event Updates


The University of Kansas School of Law Hooding Ceremony has been postponed.

Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer announced in an April 2, 2020 email to the university community that the university's Commencement ceremonies will be delayed due to the developing situation around the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law school will host a Hooding Ceremony for the Class of 2020, but it will also be postponed. Law school administration will monitor announcements at the university level and will plan to couple our Hooding Ceremony with KU's Commencement. We will also consult with members of the graduating class to get their thoughts as more information becomes available.

All December 2019, May 2020 and August 2020 JD, MS, LLM and SJD graduates are invited to participate in the law school Hooding Ceremony and University Commencement.


Graduation and Hooding Ceremony Checklist



Steps to Complete with the Career Services Office


If you did not complete your graduate exit interview with the Office of Career Services, please contact Assistant Dean Heather Spielmaker (hspielmaker@ku.edu). 


Mandatory Hooding Ceremony Information Meeting


The law school will schedule a Zoom informational meeting and/or share an informational video with graduates after a new date for the ceremony is determined. This meeting/video will take the place of the usual in-person information meeting, and will outline and review ceremony logistics.


Voting for Hooder and Marshals


The third-year class voted and selected the following faculty members to serve as the Marshals and the Hooder. The Marshals lead the class into and out of the Lied Center auditorium for the Hooding Ceremony and down the Hill for Commencement.

  • Hooder: Professor Ellen Sward
  • Marshals: Professor Jean Phillips and Professor Suzanne Valdez
  • Banner Carrier: Emily Matta

Announcement Cards


Graduation announcements are available to order through the KU Bookstore.


Graduation Regalia


Regalia (hood, robe, tam and tassel) will be available for purchase from the Kansas Union Bookstore. For more information, visit the KU Bookstore.


Seating Availability


All family and friends attending the Hooding Ceremony, including young children, must have a ticket. Graduates will not need a ticket. Students who already signed up for tickets in March will not need to sign up again. If you did not yet request tickets or would like to change your previous request, email Associate Dean Crystal Mai at cmai@ku.edu. Please make sure to note on the sign-up whether any of your guests need special accommodations (wheelchair/limited mobility, etc.) There is not a limit on the number of tickets you may request; however, if ticket requests exceed the number of tickets available, there will be a cap on the number of tickets allotted. If you request fewer than the cap allotted, you will only receive the number requested.  In recent years, all ticket requests have been met. Seating locations will be determined on a random lottery basis. We try to keep families seated together. We will provide updates on the ticket distribution process for the rescheduled Hooding Ceremony as more information becomes available.


Appropriate Attire


There is no formal dress code for the Hooding Ceremony. However, it is recommended that you wear flat or low-heeled shoes. Additionally, it is helpful to have something to anchor your hood if you are planning to participate in the University Commencement ceremony. Safety pins or a buttoned shirt usually work well.


Ceremony Schedule


We will provide an updated ceremony schedule closer to the rescheduled event date. The schedule for the university's Commencement ceremony will be posted at commencement.ku.edu.


Ceremony Instructions for Graduates


Ceremony instructions will be posted closer to the rescheduled event date and shared via email.


Reception Following the Ceremony


We encourage you and your family members to stop by the reception and open house at the law school following the Hooding Ceremony. You will also have an opportunity to pick up your diploma, visit with faculty and give your family a tour of the building. An electronic invitation with an RSVP form will be sent out after a new event date has been set. Please make sure to RSVP by the date noted on the invitation.


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