Harvard Law School Names Elizabeth Warren 2021 Class Day Speaker


United States Senator and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will be the speaker for the Harvard Law School Class of 2021’s virtual Class Day ceremonies, the school announced Wednesday.

The celebration will take place online on Wednesday, May 26.

Warren currently serves as the Law School’s Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Emerita. She is a two-time recipient of the Sacks-Freund Teaching Award, which recognizes individuals for their teaching methods, commitment to students, and positive impact at the Law School. In her nearly 20 years teaching at the Law School, Warren criticized exploitative lending practices and government policies that she believed unfairly advantaged the business elite.

Following her career in academia, Warren entered the political fray and successfully ran for U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts in 2012. She was re-elected in 2018.


Between February 2019 and March 2020, Warren ran for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, building her campaign on principles including restructuring the economy, eliminating corruption, and advocating for ordinary Americans.

Sarah D. Rutherford, a third-year law student and one of the nine class marshals responsible for selecting this year’s speaker, wrote in an email that the cohort “collected recommendations” from fellow students and “worked collaboratively” with the Dean of Students Office during the process.

“Senator Warren represents the best of Harvard Law School,” Rutherford wrote. “Her demonstrated intellectual accomplishments, commitment to service, and unwavering integrity are sure to inspire those who attend Class Day.”

Law School student body co-president Irfan Mahmud ’16 wrote in an email that he is “very excited” for Warren to speak to the graduating class.

“I think she will be a popular choice amongst the student body,” Mahmud wrote. “Really exciting to have a former professor as a Senator, Presidential Candidate, and U.S. leader.”

Rutherford added that Warren’s influential voice on national issues during the Class of 2021’s time at Harvard made her an ideal speaker.

“During our time at Harvard Law School, few people have shaped cultural, political, and historical conversation more than Senator Warren,” she wrote. “We are excited for her to send us off as HLS graduates.”

—Staff writer Emmy M. Cho can be reached at