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Celebrating the Class of 2021



Welcome Class of 2021

We celebrate you – more than 300 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. Sanford proudly welcomes you into a strong and successful network of more than 8,000 alumni in more than 100 countries.

From all of us at the Sanford School, we applaud you!

Join the celebration! #Duke2021 #PubPol2021




2021 Student Stories

The undergraduate and graduate students who call Sanford home are something special. They come from all over the world, and just down the road in Durham. They start organizations, volunteer in the community, publish research, earn awards and develop friendships that have the potential to last a lifetime. If there was one word to describe this year’s graduates, that word would be “unstoppable.” Here are some of the stories of the class of 2021.

Share your story with us on social media! #PubPol2021



Grad 2021 Dean Congrats

Congratulations from Dean Judith Kelley

Dean Kelley says the 2021 graduates are unstoppable! “All of us here in the Sanford School enthusiastically applaud your sheer grit and determination to complete your education during one of the most challenging times in history,” she said in her remarks. “Each one of you that we’re sending out into the world has the power to make an impact on public policy."
#PubPol2021 | #Duke2021

April 22, 2021

2021 Sanford Graduation Prigram Commencement Recap (Students taking selfie)

Flickr Photo Gallery | Complete Commencement Ceremony



Sanford Celebration Schedule

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

students jumping near Duke chapel and Blue DevilSunday, May 2


9 a.m. EST

In-Person Event: Duke commencement celebration for undergraduates

In-person commencement ceremony for the Duke undergraduate members of the class of 2021 (and limited guests) on Sunday, May 2 from 9 to 11 a.m. Live stream will be available for everyone to attend:


12 p.m. EST

Virtual Event: Sanford graduation celebration for Undergraduate Public Policy Majors

Online celebration for the Sanford undergraduate members of the class of 2021 on Sunday, May 2 from at noon EST. Join online:

Contact: Suzanne Pierce


2 p.m. EST

Highlight for Basic Page

  • Dean Kelley surrounded by graduates. Student and faculty fist-bumping

    Graduation Photo Album

    The celebration of our graduate and professional programs took place, for the first time ever, in the Cameron Indoor Stadium, a place widely regarded as the crown jewel of college basketball's classic venues. 73 received Master of Public Policy degrees, 24 earned Master of International Development Policy degrees, 6 snagged International Master of Environmental Policy degrees, and 5 earned PhDs.


    Browse/download event photos >>

Virtual Event:  Policy Journalism and Media Studies
Contact: Megan McLane


Tuesday May 4


11 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST

Virtual Event: PhD in Public Policy
Contact: Lisa Kukla


Wednesday, May 5


9 a.m. EST

In-person Event: Sanford graduation celebration for graduate and professional students

In-person commencement ceremony for Sanford graduate and professional graduates on Wednesday, May 5 at 9 am. The University has confirmed its policy that guests will not be permitted at Cameron events. Live stream will be available for everyone to attend:

Flickr Photo Gallery | Commencement Ceremony Video | Download the Program

Friday, May 7


9-10 am EST

Virtual Event: Master of International Development Policy (MIDP)

Contact: Akma Kasmaganbetova


6 p.m. EST

Virtual Event: Master of Public Policy (MPP)
Contacts: Genille Anderson / Mitch Moste


Kristin GossTifft Award Winner

This year’s Susan E. Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award was presented to Kristin Goss, Kevin D. Gorter professor of public policy and political science and director of the Duke in DC program. The award recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching. The students who nominated her all shared their gratitude, and described the impact of her teaching and mentorship.

One student wrote, ““Though our interactions have been limited to through a computer screen and from miles away, the raw, relevant, and captivating conversations we have had have made me a wiser and more insightful person.” Read more about the award and Professor Goss >>


Duke commencement 21Duke Commencement

Duke is planning on a limited, in-person commencement ceremony for the undergraduate members of the class of 2021 on Sunday, May 2 from 9 to 11 a.m. At this point in time, graduates may bring up to two guests to the ceremony in Wallace Wade Stadium. Find out is all the information you need to know about Duke's commencement activities.


Pub Pol JamzPubPol Jamz

Graduates: Now and forever, 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.) 

Invitation to Alumni

Help us celebrate online and welcome the 2021 graduates into the alumni network! E-mail us one piece of advice, or a memory, that you'd like to be shared with the class of 2021. 


Class of 2021's Sanford experiences in 1 word

We asked graduates to share a single word that marks their Sanford experience:

  • Arevik Badalyan Drewek MIDP'21

  • Yuexuan Chen PPS'21

  • Eryn Gorang MPP'21

  • Kalkidan Kebede MIDP'21

  • Marco Antonio Cuevas Meza MIDP'21

  • Merlin Yunaniar MIDP'21

  • Michael Sheehy MPP'21

  • Ola Hosni MIDP'21

  • Romina Damini MIDP'21