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Articles / Campus Life / Colleges Commemorate Juneteenth, Plan for the Future; Cornell Names Dean For New Brooks School of Public Policy, and More

June 18, 2021

Colleges Commemorate Juneteenth, Plan for the Future; Cornell Names Dean For New Brooks School of Public Policy, and More

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Colleges Commemorate Juneteenth With In-Person and Virtual Events

On Thursday, President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth officially a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery. Across the country, colleges and universities honored the day with on-campus and virtual events. Yale University is livestreaming their Juneteenth Opening Ceremony and Columbia University created a mini-doc titled ‘Why Do We Celebrate Juneteeth.’ The twelve-minute video features top scholars and members of the Columbia community. University of Michigan held a week's worth of events during their Juneteenth Symposium; recordings of the speakers and events can be found online.

Universities Plan for the Future of Education

As schools plan to return to normal operations this fall, many are also considering ways to apply the learnings from the pandemic to their strategies for the future of higher education.

Harvard University has formed a task force on the future of teaching and learning. On June 23rd, Johns Hopkins is holding a free online event for students, staff, and the general public on addressing the education disparities that COVID exacerbated. And the University of Akron made the bold decision to sell 1 million square feet of its land and buildings, in anticipation of a shift towards more remote learning opportunities in the future. Hear more about the University of Akron’s decision on InsideHigherEd’s podcast, The Key.

McKenzie Scott Donates Millions to 31 Community Colleges and Universities

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott made headlines this week by donating $2.73 billion to 286 “historically underfunded” organizations, including 31 colleges and universities.

The list of schools was primarily community colleges, but did include some four-year public universities. Scott donated $40 million each to University of Central Florida, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Texas at San Antonio, Florida International University, and Cal Poly Pomona, Fullerton, and Northridge. The donations are unrestricted, so each school can choose how to use the money.

Cornell’s New Public Policy School Chooses a Name and a Dean

In February 2020, Cornell announced its plans to create a new School of Public Policy.

The school would draw faculty from several related disciplines, but would have its own budget and dean. Nearly a year and a half later, the school, which is is expected to open this summer, has a name and a dean. It will be formally named the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, but called the Cornell Brooks School, after a major donor with a long-history of Cornell roots and an interest in socially responsible investments. On June 15th, the University announced that Colleen Barry has received a five-year appointment as Dean of the Cornell Brooks School. Barry will be coming to Cornell from Johns Hopkins, where she currently leads the department of health policy and management.

UCSD Students Unusual Graduation Photos Go Viral

Jennifer Rocha’s post-graduation family photoshoot looked a little different than most grads.

She donned her gap, gown, and UC San Diego sash in the fields where she has worked alongside her parents throughout her life. Recalling her high school schedule, Rocha said, “I would get out of cross-country practice at around 2 p.m. and then my dad would pick me up and I would get home, change, eat something and then go right to work overnight because during that time we were planting strawberries overnight." She also shared words of encouragement for other students who have to juggle work and school. “It's not impossible. Just because your parents work in domestic labor jobs doesn't mean that you aren't going to be successful. It's going to be hard, but everything is possible. And never forget where you come from."

Written by

Joy Bullen

Joy Bullen

Joy Bullen is College Confidential's Senior Editor and Head of Content. She is a graduate of Kenyon College, where she majored in English and Creative Writing. She also earned a master’s in Psychology from The New School for Social Research in NYC.

Before becoming a full-time writer and editor, Joy coached thousands of prospective and enrolled college students on admissions and academic and career success. She also managed a team of academic and career coaches and consulted with universities on how to create programs that have better outcomes for students.

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