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Celebrating the Class of 2020

Congratulations Graduates

Welcome Class of 2020

We celebrate you – around 350 graduates! This webpage is a tribute to your accomplishments – highlighting stories of graduates, your shared memories, and well wishes from faculty, staff and your families. We also invite you to join us for an online event especially created for our graduates and families. Sanford proudly welcomes you into a strong and successful network of more than 8,000 alumni in approximately 100 countries.​ From all of us at the Sanford School, we applaud you!

Join the celebration! #Duke2020 #PubPol2020



2020 Student Stories

Sanford students, both undergraduate and graduate, come from all over the globe and are, simply put, rock stars. They are involved in passion projects. They start schools for women, become obsessed with our campus in China, join swing dance troupes and more. And this class, in particular, has risen to meet more challenges than any other class we can recall. Here are some of the stories of the Class of 2020.

Share your story with us on social media! #PubPol2020




Congratulations from Dean Judith Kelley

Dean Judith Kelley shares a heartfelt congratulations to the more than 300 Duke Sanford graduates of the Class of 2020. Our newest Duke Sanford alumni are on a mission to change the world. “Public policy could never be more important than it is now,” Dean Kelley says in her remarks. “Our problems start with public policy often going wrong, and end with public policy going right.” #PubPol2020 | #Duke 2020

Sanford Celebration Schedule

For questions and details to attend the online events, please contact the staff member listed. Some events are invitation only.

Thursday, May 7

7 – 8 p.m. 
Policy Journalism and Media Studies
Contact: Shelley Stonecipher


Friday, May 8

2 – 3:30 p.m.
Master of Public Policy (MPP)
Contact: Genille Anderson


4:30 – 6 p.m.
PhD in Public Policy
Contact: Lisa Kukla


5 – 6:30 p.m.
Master of International Development Policy (MIDP)
Contact: Akma Kasmaganbetova

8 – 9 p.m.
International Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP)
Undergraduate celebration playlist live link Saturday 11:30 a.m.Contact: Tatiana Sherman


Saturday, May 9
11:30 a.m.
Undergraduate Public Policy Major
Contact: Suzanne Pierce



Sunday, May 10

10:00 a.m.
Duke University Marking the Moment Platform goes live
Visit the platform at: https://2020.duke.edu/               For more information: https://commencement.duke.edu/




Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award

This year’s Susan E. Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award was presented to Abdullah T. Antepli, associate professor of the practice. The award recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching. The award is named for Susan Tifft, the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Communications and Journalism from 1998-2009, who died after a long battle with cancer. It was first awarded in 2010. The nominating committee said, “Abdullah (as he prefers to be called by his students) received an outpouring of positive recommendations. His students expressed gratitude for his wealth of knowledge, his compassionate demeanor, and his enthusiasm for what he teaches. Abdullah’s students also shared that he altered their worldview, influenced their moral and ethical development, encouraged them to speak out, and inspired them to want to study public policy.”



Featuring Our Graduates

Sanford students, both undergraduate and graduate, have a wide range of interests and experiences. This year we are graduating more than 300 students from all over the world, and their stories are impressive. Here are some of the stories of the Class of 2020.

Find more stories here.




Taylor Receives Stubbing Award for Graduate Teaching, Mentoring

Tom Taylor, professor of the practice of public policy, has received the 2020 Richard Stubbing Award for teaching and mentoring of graduate students. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the graduate programs of the Sanford School, including the MPP, the MIDP, and the PhD programs. Taylor was honored during the virtual celebration of the graduate classes of 2020 on May 8. The awards committee members wrote: “Professor Taylor has demonstrated excellence in teaching and mentorship to graduate students at the Sanford School by developing engaging, stimulating, and rigorous classes and by investing in his students. Both current students and alumni alike noted the role Professor Taylor played in finding them professional opportunities and employment. Moreover, Professor Taylor is committed to the personal development and wellbeing of his students, going above and beyond to establish personal connections and help them reach academic, professional, and personal goals. A unifying message from his nominations cites the many ways Professor Taylor has been a strong advocate for graduate students in his capacity as a teacher and mentor.” In the words of one of the student nominators, “Professor Taylor embodies the ideal mentor. His pedagogy demands the highest standard, while his warm encouragement builds confidence. Professor Taylor, in my short time at Sanford, has made me a better policy professional, a more passionate citizen, and a more moral public servant.”





Duke Marking the Moment Logo

Marking the Moment: Duke 2020

The Sanford School is also a part of a special project from Duke University. Marking the Moment: Duke 2020, is an interactive digital experience for graduates and their families opening May 10, 2020.


Visit the platform at: https://2020.duke.edu/   





Graduates: You will always be part of Sanford’s community. Keep the Sanford memories going – in a musical way. If Sanford was a song, or had a theme song, what would it be? What song would you add? Have a listen or add a song to our Sanford community playlist.

(Also, looking for the perfect graduation gift? Check out the online store.)