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365 Fifth Issue
Commencement 2015  

The Graduate Center celebrated 466 doctoral and 118 master's degree graduates at its 51st annual Commencement ceremony, held on May 27 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

The evening was also an occasion to celebrate three honorary degree recipients—philanthropist Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, author Lydia Davis, and social activist Ai-jen Poo—as well as honor Google’s Maggie Johnson (Ph.D. in Computer Science, 1991), who was bestowed the President’s Distinguished Alumni Medal.

Delivering the Commencement address was Distinguished Professor Stephen Neale (Philosophy/Linguistics), widely considered one of the best philosophers of his generation. “You’ve invested not just in your own futures, but in the futures of countless others, most notably the futures of those you go on to teach or train or nurse or rehabilitate,” he told the graduates.

With the air of hopefulness came solemn moments. Derrick Griffith, a 2015 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education, was among those killed in the Amtrak derailment two weeks before Commencement. His mother, Carlea Griffith, and his son, Darryus, accepted Dr. Griffith’s diploma and academic attire during a special presentation to honor his memory.

Student speaker Alice Jones (Music) also offered a moving account of her Graduate Center experience, describing a supportive environment that helped carry her through unexpected personal challenges. “I didn’t think … that an institution could exist whose members have accomplished so much but remain so human,” Jones said.

Following the presentation of master's and doctoral degrees, President Chase F. Robinson closed the ceremony. “You were emboldened to attempt the heterodox, rather than perpetuate the orthodox,” he said. “I urge you to advance the diversity of ideas that you so perfectly embody.”

For photos, full remarks, and other details, visit the Commencement 2015 page.

GC Community News  

$1.5 Million Grant to Study Video Games Awarded to Bruce Homer
The three-year project will explore how to design computer games that sharpen students’ learning.


Ph.D. Candidate Micki Kaufman Receives Prestigious Award for 'Quantifying Kissinger' Project
Kaufman (History) was recently awarded the Lisa Lena Opas-Hänninen Young Scholar Prize, which will help fund her project, “Everything on Paper Will Be Used Against Me: Quantifying Kissinger.”

GC Digital Initiatives Wins Second Consecutive Start-Up Grant
The highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant will fund DH Box, a project that originated in the Digital Praxis Seminar and reflects the GC’s strength in advancing digital scholarship.


New Study Provides Inside Look at Stresses of the Self-Employed
Findings by Professor Irvin Sam Schonfeld (GC/City, Psychology) detail the stresses faced by those who are self-employed, such as freelancers or owners of solo businesses.

Burroughs, Acker, Hughes Featured in Newest ‘Lost & Found’ Poetry Series
The Graduate Center is publishing the fifth edition of its “Lost & Found” series, which features unexpected, genre-bending works by important 20th-century writers.


Thomas Weiss Receives International Studies Association Award
Presidential Professor Thomas G. Weiss (Political Science), Director Emeritus of the GC’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, will receive the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award.
Alumna/us Spotlight  


Ivan Assenov Anastassov (Ph.D. 2013, Biology)
A postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, Anastassov recently received a $160,000 NIH grant to support his research on how the brain receives and interprets what is seen through the eye.
Press Coverage Highlights  

Explaining US Inequality Exceptionalism
Why is disposable income in the U.S. more unequally distributed than in most other advanced countries? In a New York Times op-ed, Paul Krugman cites the work of GC colleagues Janet Gornick and Branko Milanovic to shed light on the question.

Graduate Education Gets a Digital Makeover in New York City
In a Center for Digital Education feature article, Professor Matthew K. Gold and Ph.D. candidate Micki Kaufman describe how and why the GC is preparing a new generation of doctoral students with digital skills.

As Minimum Wages Rise, Some Say Too Little, Too Late
“If you're working at the current minimum wage in a lot of places, you're still in poverty, especially if you're supporting other people,” Professor Ruth Milkman (Sociology) tells CNBC. “That's a reflection of the growth in inequality.”

How Big Data Could Reshape the American Workforce
Lesley Hirsch, director of the GC’s Labor Market Information Service, talks to Vice.com about the “credential creep” that has developed in the era of big data.
In Memoriam
Professor Emeritus Irwin Katz, for many years a key figure in the GC’s Ph.D. Program in Critical Social/Personality Psychology, died in New York on May 28. Katz’s major areas of research included prejudice and stigma; his studies of ambivalence and its effects on affirmative action, black-white relationships, and the scapegoating of minority members remain vital contributions. He was 95.

Distinguished Professor Jane Marcus (GC/City, English) died in the Tonga archipelago on May 28. An archivist, author, organizer, and teacher, Marcus was an authority on women writers, women’s studies, and other forms of literature. Her publications included seminal works on Virginia Woolf. On the eve of her death, Marcus had been traveling with her husband by ship around the world. She was 76.


For more info, please visit our news page, press coverage room, and calendar.

365 Fifth will return at the start of the 2015 fall semester. Have a great summer!


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