By Karen Guzman
The Yale School of Management celebrated the 466 members of the graduating Class of 2021 during an in-person ceremony on Yale’s Old Campus on May 24 and a virtual ceremony on May 25.
At the end of academic careers disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the students in the graduating class were able to gather in person, while their families and friends cheered them on over live video. Members of the class, wearing masks, sat in a socially distanced grid of chairs beneath the towering trees as the festivities began with a procession of student marshals and faculty, led by Yale bulldog mascot Handsome Dan.
The following day, students who were not able to attend the in-person portion of the event gathered online for a virtual event, each appearing live on screen as their names were called by Deputy Dean Anjani Jain.
The graduating class included 309 students in the full-time MBA program, 31 in the Master of Advanced Management (MAM) program, 72 in the MBA for Executives program, 8 in the Master’s Degree in Systemic Risk program, and 46 in the Master’s Degree in Global Business and Society (GBS) program. Nine additional GBS students and 24 additional MAM students joined the MAM program in January of 2021 and will complete their studies later this year.
“You made it,” Yale SOM Dean Kerwin K. Charles told the students assembled on Old Campus. “On behalf of the faculty and staff, I’m thrilled to congratulate you on the completion of your academic studies at the Yale School of Management.”
Charles commended the class for its perseverance during the pandemic, saying that the students enter the next chapter of their lives equipped with the resilience and confidence “that come from having navigated a difficult and unprecedented past.”
Student speakers thanked their classmates and the school for helping them stay on track during the pandemic. Ana Victoria Gil ’21 cited the “incredible support” that the Yale SOM community showed her Master of Advanced Management cohort, giving them a sense of belonging and welcome during a locked-down year.
Rachel Gasana ’21 said the closeness of her MBA for Executives class is what carried them through a challenging two years that began with the pre-pandemic death of their classmate Niko Lockiby, whom they honored during the ceremony. “The strength and closeness of our class was immediately evident,” Gasana said. “I feel a deep sense of pride, being counted among you.”
MBA class speaker Joe Gramelspacher ’21 concurred. “This is a very, very special place, and that’s because of all of you,” he said, crediting his classmates and the entire community with cultivating an environment of innovation, optimism, and empathy during the pandemic—values that each member will carry into the future. “For each and every one of us, the best is yet to come,” he said.
Leo Berlien ’21, a member of the GBS class, said that he was grateful to have met so many inspiring people who made the past difficult year a success, despite everything: “We all made the best out of the circumstances and achieved so much.”
The virtual ceremony also began with a speech from Dean Charles, congratulating the students assembled around the world. “We make history today,” he said. “This is Yale SOM’s first live virtual commencement ceremony. I hope that wherever you’re watching from…you’re safe and healthy and able to celebrate today’s events with your cherished loved ones.”
Charles also welcomed the students to the alumni community, saying that he looks forward to watching them carry on Yale SOM’s distinctive mission of serving both business and society in their professional roles. “I have no doubt that you will do so ably and in a manner that makes us proud,” he said.
About the Event
Yale SOM is celebrating the Class of 2021 in person on Monday, May 24, and in an online ceremony on Tuesday, May 25.
Please note that the in-person ceremony is open to graduates only. Guests and families are invited to watch live video starting at 10:20 a.m. EDT on May 24.
Watch the May 24 in-person ceremony
The celebration of the Class of 2021 will continue in an online ceremony for remote students on May 25 at 9 a.m. EDT. Participating students will receive a Zoom link. Guests, families, and the rest of the Yale SOM community are invited to watch live video.
Watch the May 25 online ceremony
Congratulations to all the graduates of the Class of 2021!
Join the conversation by tagging #Yale2021.