Thank you!

The faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees of Cornish College of the Arts extend our sincere thanks to those who participated in our first ever virtual commencement ceremony honoring the Class of 2020.



Virtual Commencement was a live video stream on YouTube that took place on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Watch the event recording by clicking the button below. Thank you to all who participated!

*Button takes you to our YouTube channel. From there, click on Virtual Commencement!


This year’s celebration of the class of 2020 will not be typical, but this has not been a typical spring semester for Cornish. Due to social distancing measures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Cornish had to cancel our traditional ceremony honoring the year’s graduates. We are happy to announce that we’re taking the festivities online instead!

The LIVE event will feature a talented array of performers and speakers from the class of 2020, addresses from President Raymond Tymas-Jones, Provost William Seigh, and our commencement speaker, Cornish alumna Skye Borgman (Theater ’94). 

Check back here for more information as details are confirmed, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and event previews.

Download Event Program (PDF)

Please note: For those who reside locally or who are able to return to Seattle this winter, we will expand our celebration of December’s graduates to also include Spring 2020 grads in our annual Winter Graduation event held at Main Campus Center. 



Helpful Information

Event Program

[Processional by the Faculty of the Cornish Music Department]

Welcome Remarks: Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones, Ph.D., President

Student Performer: Alexander Gregory Michels (MUSIC)*

Commencement Address: Skye Borgman (THEATER ’94)

Student Performer: Aja Breana Green (DANCE)*

Student Speaker: Vanessa Keran Hough (ART)*

Student Performer: Isabel Lula Adesuwa Orobaton (THEATER)*

Student Speaker: Casey Trutner Hartman (THEATER)*

Conferral of Degrees: Raymond Tymas-Jones and Respective Department Chairs

Closing Remarks: William Seigh, Provost*

*Featuring contributions by Jordan Michelle Couper (PERFORMANCE PRODUCTION)

Skye Borgman Bio

Photo of Skye BorgmanSkye Borgman is an award-winning director and cinematographer who makes narrative and documentary films all over the world.

After graduating from Cornish College of the Arts in 1994, she packed a backpack and hit the road. She spent the next 5 years traveling to over 60 countries and living on three continents. Her global experiences guide her vision, thought, and approach to filmmaking, giving her the unique ability to connect with all types of personalities. She has filmed rock-stars, prime ministers, drug addicts, environmentalists, Academy award winners, Buddhist nuns, and anarchist chocolate makers.

With a keen sense of adventure, Skye brings excitement to everything she films. Her fusion of lighting, collaboration, and absolute fearlessness gives her filmmaking an evocative, honest and approachable style.

Skye’s stunning film, ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT has captivated the world, with people boasting, “It’s the craziest documentary I’ve ever seen.”  Skye has directed episodes for the Netflix series UNSOLVED MYSTERIES and TRIALS BY MEDIA and is currently directing a special for Oxygen. Additionally, she photographs for Investigation Discovery, bringing the shows THE NIGHT THAT DIDN’T END and MURDER IN THE HEARTLAND to life.

Skye is the co-owner of Top Knot Films, an award-winning production company, creating extraordinary film, television and documentary content.  Top Knot Films is committed to delivering captivating projects with such emotional impact that they challenge, amaze, and inspire us to celebrate our everyday lives.



Cornish is committed to making our Virtual Commencement event on May 16 as accessible as possible. We are including captions for the entire event and transcriptions of all event speeches will be made available on our website. Additionally, the video recording that we will make available for viewing and download after the event, will include audio descriptions. If you have concerns regarding accessibility, please submit the form below. We cannot address all requests, but we will do everything we can to meet your needs.

Virtual Commencement Accessibility Form

Optimize Your Viewing Experience

Cornish College’s IT team put together this tech tip sheet for Virtual Commencement participants. Learn how to improve your internet speed and optimize your viewing experience for the event.

Tech Tips

Commencement Participation

You are eligible to participate in the College’s commencement ceremony if you have six or fewer credits outstanding after Spring semester 2020 is complete. If you have more than six credits unfulfilled, you are eligible to participate in the following year’s ceremony. If you are a prospective graduate and have questions about your eligibility to participate in commencement or your graduation status, please contact the Registration & Records Office at


Final degree awards will be posted to your record within 30 days of the last day of the semester. Diplomas will be available following the final graduation audit; for most graduates that will be by June 15. You must provide the Registration & Records Office with the address where you would like your diploma sent; you can submit this information via your graduation application on Compass.

Graduate Application | Compass

Alumni Services

The Alumni Relations Office can be reached at 206.726.5052. More information about the benefits, resources, and opportunities available to Cornish alumni can be found here.

A Message from the President

Dear Class of 2020,

When we began the spring semester of the 2019-2020 academic year, I am certain that no one imagined how our lives would be upended by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  The rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the entire 50 states of our country has resulted in a myriad of efforts to quell the spread and flatten the anticipated curve of this highly contagious disease.  Governor Inslee and other officials have acted responsibly to do what is necessary to keep citizens as safe as possible. As we have all learned, an essential component to slowing the spread is to maintain social distancing.

The Cornish administration, with the support of the Board of Trustees, has taken action to minimize the threat to the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. Now, I must consider a decision that absolutely breaks my heart: The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and the restrictions established by the proclamation of the Governor of the State of Washington on 13 March 2020 necessitate the cancellation of the 2020 Commencement exercises for Cornish College of the Arts.

I cannot imagine how disappointed each graduate and their family and friends will be to learn this news, but the health and safety of our entire community remain our utmost priority.  Cornish is one of many institutions across the country to determine that, for the present, this decision is the most prudent and necessary. Over the coming days and weeks, I will share with you thoughts and ideas of how Cornish will celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our graduating seniors when it is safe to do so.

I want you to know that the faculty, staff, and administration are working tirelessly to continue to deliver on our commitment to your future.  The work of the artist is perhaps more critical to the survival of our community than ever, and your preparation to be among those whose contributions to humanity gives hope and peace.  I ask you and your family to do everything possible to remain well and safe.


Raymond Tymas-Jones, Ph.D.

President, Cornish College of the Arts



LIVE Commencement After Party Featuring Alumna Performers!

Following the Virtual Commencement event, hop over to the Cornish Instagram to enjoy the talents of these talented Cornish alumna as they pay tribute to the Class of 2020!

AFTERGLOW: A Live Celebration of the Class of 2020 begins at 1pm on Saturday, May 16.


Mary Lambert (Class of 2011)

Singer and composer Mary Lambert‘s work on the marriage equality anthem “Same Love,” from the Grammy-winning Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album, The Heist, received Grammy nominations for “Song of The Year” and “Album of The Year.” Her single, “Secrets,” shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Dance charts and was certified RIAA Gold in 2015. The New York Times called her full-length album, Heart on My Sleeve, “refreshing and severely personal.” Also a spoken word artist, her self-produced and crowdfunded album, Grief Creature, was released in late 2019.


Gabrielle Friedman (Class of 2020)

Gabrielle Friedman is a singer-songwriter, actor, and dancer currently based in Seattle. She has been performing since she was six years old and continues to find inspiration from POC artists, activists, and dreamers. Her music and style is reflective of her identity: unapologetic. Her recent credits include Snapdragon in A Beautiful Day in November (Cornish College of The Arts), Her in Breakup Bench (The Scratch), and Simon in Jesus Christ Superstar (Cornish College of The Arts).


Chong the Nomad (Class of 2017)

In each of her distinct compositions, Seattle electronic music producer, Chong the Nomad, unleashes storms of song that embody both the delicate raindrop striking the single tree leaf and the looming clouds that burst and quench an entire forest. The musician, whose given name is Alda Agustiano, is one of the fastest rising songwriters in the Emerald City. In 2018, she released her debut EP, Love Memo, earning “Top Album” recognition from The Seattle TimesSeattle WeeklyThe Stranger and famed radio station, KEXP.


SassyBlack (Class of 2008)

SassyBlack first hit the public consciousness in 2008 when her hip-hop duo, THEESatisfaction, released two records on Sub Pop. She has since fostered a solo career, writing and producing her own music. With melodies compared to Herbie Hancock and a voice compared to Sarah Vaughan, Black has received acclaim from myriad publications. She released her third record, Ancient Mahogany Gold, in 2019.





Are you a graduating senior? Join your department to decorate your cap!

While we are unable to assemble in person to honor you, we aren’t going to let you leave Cornish without some well deserved fanfare. And while we were unable to source our traditional regalia to wear this year (due to manufacturing closures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic), we still want you to be well decked for your Virtual Commencement. So….

Included in the Commencement care package you received via mail is a template for a paper graduation cap. We invite you to join with your department’s Chair, faculty, and staff for a Cap Decorating Hangout on May 12, and to “wear” your cap to Commencement.

Join the fun by clicking your department’s link below at 4PM on Tuesday, May 12.

[Note that the Cap Decorating Hangouts are exclusively for current seniors and are accessible only with your Cornish email account.]


Resources for Seniors