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Comedy, health care, theatre and law: Meet DePaul University’s Class of 2020

Profiles of student speakers and a recent graduate

Class of 2020
Graduates from DePaul University's Class of 2020 share their stories and plans for the future. Clockwise from top left: Radhwa Ramadan, Courtney Hull, Sydney Michelle Nelson, Emma Rosenthal and Ezra Graham Lintner. (Images courtesy of graduates, composite by DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
CHICAGO — This June, DePaul University will celebrate the Class of 2020 in an unprecedented way: Online ceremonies that will provide graduates, family and friends an opportunity to honor their accomplishments safely from home. Ceremonies will launch online June 13 with speeches from DePaul leaders, students and a special alumnus guest, actor Joe Keery, a 2014 graduate from The Theatre School. Details about the ceremonies are online at

Some 6,250 students are expected to graduate from DePaul this year. Of those graduating, 56% will receive a bachelor’s degree, and nearly a third who started at DePaul as first-time freshmen identify as first-generation college students.

Among this year’s graduates are exceptional students who have already put their knowledge into practice through comedy screenwriting, health care, theatre and legal advocacy. Several of these students have been selected as commencement speakers and will address their classmates during the online ceremonies. Here are their stories:

Sydney Michelle Nelson | BFA in Theatre Arts| The Theatre School
As a child, Sydney Michelle Nelson found solace and connection through performing Motown hits. As a theatre student, she launched a one-woman show to reclaim the meaning of the word “diva.” Read more>>

Courtney Hull and Emma Rosenthal | MFA in Screenwriting | College of Computing and Digital Media
Finding humor in dark places, from grief to pandemic, brought these comedy screenwriters together. Among the first to graduate from a comedy filmmaking program with The Second City, these funny friends are ready for the writers room. Read more>>

Radhwa Ramadan | B.S. in Health Sciences | College of Science and Health
Interning at a clinic in Chicago, this future health care professional learned about the importance of empathy and communication by caring for patients. At DePaul, she found ways to seamlessly bridge different facets of her culture and identity into her studies and advocacy. Read more>>

Ezra Graham Lintner | J.D. | College of Law
Social justice was at the heart of this law student’s interests while at DePaul. Ezra Graham Lintner advocated for people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, and raised awareness through the Preferred Name Project. Read more>>

DePaul has a tradition of providing a quality education to students from diverse backgrounds, with particular attention to first-generation college students. This will be the 121st commencement at DePaul, which is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest, with nearly 22,500 students and a wide range of academic and professional degree programs. DePaul was founded in Chicago in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century priest for whom the university is named. More information is at


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