The Institute for Law and Finance has reached the end of the Summer Semester and the end of another year of teaching. However, the end of this year with the Class of 2020 looks vastly different from that in previous years. The Corona Virus has disrupted every part of our lives, both professionally and personally and although we could not celebrate together in person, on 16 July 2020, the ILF held an online Graduation Ceremony for its 53 graduates and to commemorate the Class of 2020 arising from 23 nations, with friends, families, lecturers and guests watching from across the globe.
Our program of events began with Prof. Dr. Andreas Cahn, ILF Executive Director, welcoming our online viewers, noting that we would have loved to have met in person to cherish this moment. The welcome remarks were followed with notes of gratitude, first to our sponsors who have supported the ILF over many years and which continue to grow with the addition of Fidelity International even during these extraordinary circumstances. Next he thanked our lecturers who for most have never taught online, or ever envisaged doing so, learning a new online teaching system and ensuring that the quality of teaching remained as high as in person and in the classroom. To our members of staff who took on the complexities of providing an online semester and of course to our students who have shown patience, flexibility and a willingness to adapt to new challenges in the face of adversity.
The guest speaker for the event was Prof. Dr. Albrecht Cordes, Dean of Research of the Law Faculty, Goethe University, who noted he was the individual who issued our students their official Letter of Confirmation as Dean of the Law Faculty during their admissions phase to the ILF, and was now bidding them farewell. He discussed the fact that there were many new statistics for this academic year, for example:
· Number of lecturers involved who gave their classes for the first time online: 33
· Number of class hours offered live online: 380
· Number of bottles of wine sent out to students for a virtual wine-tasting event: 49
All these statistics were unthinkable at the start of the academic year, however the Class of 2020 has been challenged in a way that no other class before it ever has been, and will continue to rise to meet the challenges of this new normal we live in.
The LL.M. Finance Class President, Mr. Jarek Peterson from the United States, and the LL.M. International Finance Class President, Ms. Qingqing Li from China, related their experiences at the ILF during their year of study. Mr. Peterson reminisced to Orientation Day commenting how a group of strangers came together to form a lifelong bond and the memories created together during these extraordinary times will be everlasting. Ms. Li commented on her first time aboard, a new culture, a new language and the way her class came together to balance the workload of the academic year and enjoy the smaller moments of extracurricular activities, personal travel and then of course navigating all this during a global pandemic.
Our Class Vice-Presidents, Mr. Ram Ravi from India and Mr. Chieh-Shan Lin from Taiwan, honored four lecturers, two from the winter semester and two from the summer semester, with the Lecturer of the Year 2020 Award, nominated by each group of students. Our Class VPs expressed their gratitude on behalf of their classmates, thanking each lecturer for their dedication over the two semesters. Our lecturers recorded their thanks and our Summer Semester lecturers noted on the strangeness of this term with the added challenge of online teaching.
LL.M. Finance: Dr. Frank Herring
LL.M. International Finance: Dr. Rüdiger Litten
LL.M. Finance: Dr. Stefan Henkelmann
LL.M. International Finance: Prof. Dr. Andreas Cahn
To mark the uniqueness of this year, ILF Alumni recorded and sent in words of encouragement, pieces of wisdom and overall congratulations to this year’s graduating class. We would like to thank Anze Bozic (Class of 2016), Kajetan Sitko (Class of 2019), David Smith (Class of 2016), Konstantin Vassilev (Class of 2012), Jane Xu (Class of 2014), Michael Weinberger (Class of 2016) and Ishan Zahoor (Class of 2019) for their heartfelt contributions.
The Graduation Ceremony finished with a slideshow of the year’s events starting with Orientation Day, Heidelberg trip and the Christmas party and the shift to online events both in and out the classroom.
Following the Graduation Ceremony, the ILF staff hosted a live Zoom event for the graduating students where we had a chance to say more personable goodbyes, expressing our disappointment of not being able to celebrate together, yet conveyed how proud we are of our students. We are excited see what the future holds for them and wish them all the best in their future endeavors and careers!
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!