Message from Dean Pratt

Dear Washburn Law Alumni and Friends,

I write this message with great hope and optimism as Washburn University educators have been included in Phase 2B of the vaccine administration in Kansas. This means that all Washburn employees who want to be vaccinated should be protected from COVID-19 by the end of the semester.

I am thankful that our faculty and staff at the law school are healthy and that we are back on campus. We are planning for the fall semester and expect to conduct law school classes in our law school classrooms without social distancing.

We are also planning to get back on the road to visit with alumni across Kansas and the U.S. If you would like to host a law school alumni event in your area this fall, email me or our alumni director, Karli Davis, and we will work with you to get an event scheduled.

As I write this message, my heart is also heavy due to the senseless mass shootings of innocent people that have occurred this month in Georgia and Colorado. This month, Congress is hearing testimony from Asian Americans who have been targets of racial violence due to the false narrative blaming people of Asian ancestry for COVID-19.

The law school will respond by doing what we do best: teaching. We will teach the law and the legal history surrounding racial subordination in America. We will also convene a conversation with our alumni and other legal experts to explore the history of anti-Asian sentiment in the United States and discuss how law has been used to both oppress Asian Americans and vindicate their civil rights. If you are interested in helping with the effort to organize this panel discussion or you would like to serve as a panelist, please reach out to me.

In the meantime, Washburn Law continues to stand with our Asian community members as we work together to combat racial violence. As you know, Washburn University was founded as Lincoln College after the Civil War to educate all people without regard to race, creed or color. This founding principle was included in the law school's charter when it was founded in 1903. The country music fan in me likes to invoke Barbara Mandrell and say that "Washburn was inclusive when inclusion wasn't cool." We will continue to be an inclusive community that welcomes and supports all people who join us in the study of law.

With many of us being vaccinated now, we are looking forward to hosting in-person events in the near future. Our first event will be law school commencement on Saturday, May 15, 2021. We are going to celebrate both our 2020 graduates and our 2021 graduates in a masked and socially distanced ceremony. Commencement is my favorite day of the academic year, so I can't wait for this celebration of our graduates! In order to comply with mass gathering guidelines, graduates will be limited in the number of guests they can invite to attend the ceremony. As a result, we will broadcast the ceremony on Facebook Live for family and friends who cannot attend in person. This is a practice that I hope to continue in the future even when we are not limited by COVID-19. Broadcasting the event makes it accessible to friends and family who are unable to travel, and allows them to be a part of their graduate's special day.

On June 4 at 4:00 p.m. Central Time, we will celebrate the retirements of Dean Tom Romig and Professor Aida Alaka on the South Patio of the law school. Food and drink will be served in a safe manner to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19, so please wear your mask and join us as we wish Tom and Aida the very best that retirement has to offer.

We are also planning the groundbreaking ceremony for the new law school building outdoors on June 11, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. on the southeast corner of the Washburn campus where the new building will be built. Many of you remember this location as the home of the married student housing. I hope to see you there, but if you can't make it don't worry; we will broadcast the event live on Facebook.

We are also planning our annual Farm and Ranch Tax Seminar/Webinar with Professor Roger McEowen. This year Professor McEowen is offering the seminar/webinar in West Portsmouth, Ohio on June 7-8, 2021 and in Missoula, Montana on August 2-3, 2021.

We were hoping to also host our summer alumni CLE event in Missoula, but after pricing airplane tickets we realized that this location would be too expensive for alumni with families to join us and bring their families. Consequently, we have decided to host the summer alumni CLE event at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. This location is just a car ride away and affords a lot of outdoor activities. Please check our alumni webpage after April 5th for more information and to register for this fun and educational event.

With warm wishes,


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Photograph: Dean Carla D. Pratt.

Carla D. Pratt

Dean Pratt talks about the impact education has had on her life and how law has a role in shaping higher education (3:43 minutes).
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Dean Pratt talks to "TopLawSchools" about Washburn Law's student life, academics, admissions process, career opportunties, employment outcomes, and more.