Congratulations, Class 2020!

Brenda Farnell, Head of Department, Professor


Congratulations Class of 2020

The Department of Anthropology is very proud of each and every one of you!

I am so very sorry we cannot celebrate in person on campus this year. Under normal circumstances it is always a pleasure for us to meet your family and friends and celebrate together.  However, we will not allow the absence of ceremonies to  reduce the warmth of our congratulations, nor our pride in your success as you graduate with your degree in anthropology. 

We have certainly enjoyed watching you grow and mature intellectually over the last few years and will miss your energy and enthusiasm.  You leave us now to embark upon new adventures in a challenging time on a global scale. But those challenges also offer tremendous creative scope for deep re-evaluation going forward –– of our current relationships to the earth’s environment and inequalities among its peoples, for example. You can be confident that you enter this wider world with much needed anthropology skills, critically aware of who we are as biological, social, cultural, and linguistic beings with all our complexities and differences.  The world is much in need of your anthropological sensibilities and expertise, whatever career field you choose.

So, we say goodbye for now with mixed feeling of sadness and pleasure.  Please keep in touch (beyond those letters of recommendation!).  Come back to visit “dear ol Davenport’ and send us news of your next steps, future plans, and achievements wherever they take you.  I leave you with a thought from one of my mentors that has always inspired me: 


 is going to the edge of all you have…..

and taking one more step.

Congratulations 2020 graduates


Jane Desmond, Professor


I am so proud of my graduating students, and of all of our department’s graduates this spring, for making it through such an extraordinary period with perseverance, creativity, resilience , and generosity. Those are traits our society will always need, and need more of, no matter what the historical moment. You ARE ready to go, and your faculty are thrilled to be cheering you on, even if it is virtually!




Virginia Rosa Dominguez, Professor


My hearty congratulations to all graduating majors.  I love meeting parents and relatives and dressing up in commencement garb and going to Commencement ceremonies.  Alas, it all has to be virtual now, but I could still say hello, meet your relatives, and congratulate you this way and through Skype or Zoom. Just send me email and I will respond.  I promise. 





Christopher Fennell, Professor


Congratulations on all your success amid these strange days! Best wishes on your next adventures as you make the world a better place.






Jessica Greenberg, Associate Professor


Dear Class of 2020. Congratulations!!! While we wish we could be standing there with you in person to celebrate, remember that you always have allies, supporters and friends here at UIUC.  We send you off into the world hoping to have nurtured your curiosity, good humor, empathy and critical thought.  It has been a pleasure and honor teaching and learning with you.





Petra Jelinek, Lecturer 


It was a privilege to be part of your education during your time here at the U of I. I’m proud of you and your many accomplishments, and feel so grateful for the opportunity to interact and work with many of you. You are part of the incredible group of curious, bright, and innovative students at Illinois. And more importantly your motivation to create positive change in our world gives me great hope. Best of luck to you all. Congratulations!




Korinta Maldonado, Assistant Clinical Professor


Dear anthropology class of 2020, I am happy to celebrate and see you transition to a new stage in life! It was a privilege to have you in class. I learned a lot from you. Now more than ever, your anthropological expertise is required to build a new understanding of life. Whatever you decide to do or work on, I know you will use anthropological knowledge to create sustainable change. For the students that worked closely with me, Issa, Griselda, Chumin, and my Collaborative Methodologies class. Thank you. Thank you for your thoughtful and kind engagement with the local communities. I know we grew not only as anthropologists but as human beings. Again, congratulations!



Andrew Orta, Professor


Congratulations to the Anthropology class of 2020!  And congratulations to the friends and family who have accompanied you on your way to this happy day.

It has been a pleasure to get to know some of you in classes, though the Anthropology Club, and through the Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society.  Like everyone else, I’m sorry that I won’t be able to join you for an in-person graduation marking the launch of the next chapters of your lives.  But I hope you’ll stay in touch --come back to visit, email, send an old-fashioned letter, (no Zoom, please!)—to tell us what you’re up to.  Your study of Anthropology prepares you to ask important questions of the world.  We’re eager to see what else you will learn!


Maritza Quiñones, PhD - Academic Advisor


I had the honor of serving you for four years, we have laughed, cried, and made plans for the future. I even had the opportunity to travel to Machu Pichu with some of you. I will miss you.

There may not be a stage, but I have been proud of you for years. This will only make you stronger.   




Brandon Ritchison, Assistant Professor 


Congratulations to the class of 2020! In my first year here at UIUC, I’ve been humbled by your response to the unforeseen upheavals of your final spring semester. I’m sorry that I only got to meet a few of you and that I won’t be able to celebrate your accomplishments in person. I hope that your training in Anthropology has prepared you to head into the future with a critical eye and an appreciation for the value of diverse perspectives in our ever-changing world. 




Ripan Malhi, Professor - Director of Undergraduate Studies