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Law School News

STCL Houston Earns National Acclaim for In-Person Commencement Ceremonies Despite COVID-19

South Texas College of Law Houston recently earned national acclaim for its innovation in providing in-person commencement ceremonies for new graduates despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporter Karen Sloan lauded Houston’s oldest law school in a Law.com article titled, “Bust Out Those Caps and Gowns. In-Person Commencement is Back at Some Law Schools.”

In the story, she writes, “The South Texas College of Law Houston was a pioneer in alternative in-person commencements. The school in October held 13 separate small graduation ceremonies for its Class of 2020, with Dean Michael Barry delivering his speech from behind clear Plexiglass each time. It did a similar thing in February, with three ceremonies for its December 2020 graduates.

“Barry said Thursday that the school shared advice and lessons learned from those experiences with other law schools as they contemplated their own commencement approaches this year.”

Sloan quoted STCL Houston President and Dean Michael F. Barry in the article: “The health and safety of everyone in our community remain our first priority, and we are seeking student input on how to ensure that the commencement exercise is meaningful and memorable for them,” he said.

She noted that a significant cohort of law schools have declared their intention to hold in-person events in large venues with a limited number of guests. Others, such as the University of Texas School of Law, plan to hold livestreamed, small group ceremonies on campus over two days in May.

Other schools — including Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School — have elected to repeat virtual commencement ceremonies this year.