Commencement | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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December Recognition Ceremony 2020

“I am deeply grateful to each of you for your patience, grace, and perseverance during this most extraordinary time.” – Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School

The coronavirus pandemic affected the 2020 Commencement celebrations on campuses across the globe as indelibly as it has affected every other ritual. In-person gatherings of family, friends and mentors gave way to driveway congratulations and socially distanced parties.

That makes the achievements of this year's cohort of changemakers even more exceptional.

Virtual Ceremonies and Celebrations

The Virtual Brown School December Recognition Ceremony will be shared on Wednesday, December 16 at 12:00 p.m. CST.  It can be viewed asynchronously, as it is prerecorded (program available for download).

The video, which will recognize our graduating doctoral and masters candidates (at timestamp 24:05), will feature messages from various speakers:

  • 00:15     Welcome from Dean Mary McKay (view "Found/Tonight" performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt)
  • 06:21     Brown School's student speaker, Charles Okere, a Master of Public Health candidate with a specialization in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • 12:45     Keynote speaker Halbert Sullivan, alumni and founding president/CEO of Fathers and Families Support Center (formerly Fathers’ Support Center)
  • 27:30     Graduation Message from Chancellor Martin

Plans have been announced for an alternate in-person WashU#20 Commencement Ceremony in 2021.

Alumni Messages

Brown School alums from all over the globe shared their reflections and wisdom to create the Messages From Alumni to Our 2020 Graduates

Many stressed that the new graduates' skills are imperative in helping the nation navigate the pandemic. "We desperate need you out her with us. Never has your experience, expertise and passion been more necessary," said Emily Stuart, MSW' 10.

"You are the future of our profession, a future that is in your hands and does not depend on a ceremony," added Barbara Whitman, MSW '73, PhD '81.

Social Media

Virtual celebrations inspired the creation of custom Brown School graduate social media tools for Commencement 2020. From Facebook frames to GIFs of mortarboards with swinging tassels, students and their loved ones had fun ways to celebrate this milestone.

Diplomas and Transcripts

IMPORTANT: Due to the pandemic, schools across the University had different start dates.  Because of this, the “December degree date” is listed as January 10, 2021 in WebSTAC. However, there will be a manual override for Brown School students to have the original degree date of 12/16/2020.

Diplomas will be distributed via mail on February 8th, 2021 for both domestic (Jostens) and international (Office of the University Registrar) mailing addresses.  Diplomas will be mailed to the DIPLOMA MAILING ADDRESS listed in WebSTAC. Please make sure this information is up-to-date prior to graduation (Student Information > Contact Information > Add New Address).

All transcripts are handled through the Office of the University Registrar and must be requested online.

For the Brown School, the semester will end on December 16, 2020. However, transcripts will not be available until (approximately) January 19, 2021. Once all grades are submitted and those graduating need a verification for licensure, employment or a degree completion letter, please email your request to