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Commencement 2021: Joy and Celebration

In a year of separation, the community comes together to celebrate the graduates.

May 28, 2021 -- Commencement services for Boston College Law School's Class of 2021 were held in Conte Forum at Boston College. Photo by Caitlin Cunningham Photography LLC. 

After more than a year apart, the Boston College Law School Class of 2021 gathered together May 28 to celebrate a three-year law school journey that was disrupted—but not derailed—by the pandemic shutdown. The sight of students, family, and faculty wrapping each other in hugs on campus lawns was both strange and familiar, as the chill of year of social distance thawed instantly in the joy of the moment.

Two hundred and twenty-eight JD graduates received degrees at the Law School’s 88th Commencement exercises, including two December 2020 graduates. Seven LLM students also received degrees.

Dean Vincent Rougeau addressed the community for the last time as the Dean of BC Law, calling on students to hold to their values and to the lessons learned at law school as they enter the legal profession. Dean Rougeau will become the next president of the College of the Holy Cross on July 1, 2021.

“We have taught you the structure of cases, the importance of precise language, the ways to shape and win an argument,” Rougeau said. “We have also tried to teach you discernment, the ability to know right from wrong. In spite of what the world might appear to be saying, there IS truth, justice, and honor. Fake news does not mean there aren’t clear facts. As lawyers it is your job to become champions for that truth, to uncover those facts, to debate the merits and deliver justice for all.”

Professor Ingrid Michelsen Hillinger, a commercial law and bankruptcy expert and beloved figure at BC Law, was chosen by the graduates to deliver the Commencement Address. In her remarks, she reminded them that the easy part is over, and that this moment is theirs for the taking.

“Looking back, it didn’t take you long to graduate law school did it? And I’m here to tell you it doesn’t take long to live a life either,” she said. “Make yours count. Use the legal training we have given to you to make a difference, whatever shape or form your contribution takes. We are so proud of you, we can’t wait to see what you do. We do know you’ll do us proud.”

Others who spoke during the ceremony were BC President William P. Leahy, SJ, Associate Dean of Faculty Diane Ring, and Law School Association President Kayla Snyder. Graduate Rachel Elizabeth Taylor received a standing ovation for her rendition of the national anthem.

More information on the Boston College Law School Commencement is available at

View the video on YouTube.