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Dear Members of the HLS Community,

I write to follow up on the message you recently received from President Bacow announcing that the global COVID-19 pandemic will preclude an on-campus commencement ceremony this May. I know that this comes as a terrible disappointment to members of the Class of 2021, family, loved ones, and friends who have looked forward to this day, for months and years, as a celebration of a lifetime of effort and accomplishment. And it comes on top of the sense of loss so many already feel as we approach the one-year anniversary of our move off campus because of the pandemic.

To the Class of 2021, please know how much it means to us at HLS to join with you and your loved ones to celebrate all that you achieved to get here; all the friendship, learning, and service you have contributed during your time at HLS; and the careers and lives of meaning and purpose we know you will lead as you begin your next chapters. On May 27, we will host a virtual graduation ceremony to share our gratitude and good wishes with you and all those who have traveled with you on your journey.  And when the pandemic permits, we will host another graduation celebration on campus, so that teachers and staff can at last join with you and your family, loved ones, and friends to celebrate and honor you in person and recognize all that you have done to get to this day.

We and your terrific Class Marshalls, who have already been hard at work to make this a special moment for you, will share more details on Commencement week as they become available. In the meantime, I am so grateful to the Class of 2021 for the excellence, fortitude, determination, caring, community, and humanity you have displayed this past year. I look forward to thanking you, celebrating you, and wishing you well later this spring as you join the ranks of Harvard lawyers.

Be well.

Best regards,

John