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HGSE Celebrates Commencement 2020

The HGSE community came together — virtually — to celebrate the accomplishments of 713 graduating students from over 50 countries.

Despite a challenging spring semester that saw the spread of the novel coronavirus and the unprecedented move to remote learning by schools and universities across the country, the HGSE community came together for virtual festivities on May 28 to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2020 – HGSE’s centennial class.

Highlighting the vast ways in which the world and the field of education has changed over the 100 years since HGSE’s founding, Dean Bridget Long acknowledged how much more has changed just in the course of this year, and how much of the future of education remains uncertain. But in uncertain times, there is potential for profound and lasting impact, she said.

“Graduating classes before you could never have envisioned the change they would help to bring,” she said in her speech, “Education’s Critical Role During an Uncertain Time.” “Certainly, we are living in the midst of tremendous upheaval, which has spurred innovation and new ideas but also exposed long-standing inequities in distressing ways. If the future is what we create, then you, the class of 2020, will surely be important in the determining the pathway ahead for all of us, even if we can’t see that future just yet.”

Sharing her wish that the celebration could be in person, Long provided a virtual message of inspiration to the 713 graduates receiving degrees as they embark on the critical mission of improving education in this ever-changing landscape. Thirteen graduates received a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), 16 received a Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.), 23 received a Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.), seven received a Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in School Counseling, and 654 received a Master of Education (Ed.M.).

In his remarks, “Let Your Presence Be Heard,” student speaker Philip Chew, Ed.M.’20, a graduate of the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program, spoke about the importance of sharing perspectives, even – and, perhaps, especially – if you feel like you are in the minority.

“When you don’t show up by speaking up, who will?” he asked, noting that it is now their job to speak up not just for themselves, but for others whose voices cannot be heard.

“While it may not be immediately evident to us now, more doors are opened to us than closed,” Chew said. “Yet, those same doors remain closed for many others. So, my hope and charge for us is that we embrace this privilege with humility; that we use what we have learned to raise voices and open doors — to hear and welcome those who, out of circumstances beyond their own control, have been silenced and kept out; to show up and speak up for those who could not and still cannot.”

This year’s ceremony included the presentation of awards, with Long acknowledging the recipients of the Intellectual Contribution Award, the Class Marshal awards, and the Phyllis Strimling Award. Academic Dean Nonie Lesaux presented the Morningstar Family Teaching Award to Professor Andrew Ho.

To watch complete Commencement 2020 coverage, including Harvard University’s morning exercises and individual programs’ presentation of diplomas, visit

Full list of awards:

Morningstar Family Teaching Award: Andrew Ho

Phillis Strimling Award: Nia Evans, Allison Jegla

Intellectual Contribution Award
AIE – Jesa Rae Richards
EPM – Kwame Adams
HEd – Kristen Robinson
HDP – Phoebe Co
IEP – Felicity Burgess
L&L – Eliza Harris
L&T – Tomihiro Ono
MBE – (Sam) Zheng Ming Chan
PSP – Ella Wechsler-Matthaei
SLP – Steven Askar
SSP – Arushi Mittal
TEP – Melanie Shea
TIE – Alex Grady

Commencement Marshals
Ed.D./Ph.D.: Maung Nyeu and Daphne Penn
Ed.L.D.: James Mercer and Mariel Novas
CAS: Margaret Chumley
AIE: Lily Gottlieb
EPM: Michelle Vaughn Lopez
HTF: Jerry Nelluvelil
HEd: Dona Rehm
HDP: Aashna Poddar
IEP: VK Reddy
L&L: Emily Allen
L&T: Karan Lodha
MBE: Adfer Muzaffar
PSP: Matt Clements
SLP: Morgan Best
SSP: Jiezhen Wu
TEP: Bobbye Hampton
TIE: Duna Tatour


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