Commencement 2015: Remarks by President Robinson

Commencement Remarks by Chase F. Robinson

President, The Graduate Center
May 27, 2015
Today’s ceremony calls for the pomp and ceremonial trappings you richly deserve, and less so for presidential reflections, and so I shall be brief.

On behalf of our students, faculty, and staff, I express my deepest respect and admiration for those on the stage whom we honor today—Dr. Phelps de Cisneros, Dr. Davis, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Poo. In allowing us to celebrate you, you honor the genuinely noble project that is public education—an investment by the public for the public good. It was Lydia Davis who once sounded the call: ‘If you think of something, do it.’ That vitality of spirit, that impatient resolve animates all our honorands, to the benefit of all.   

Of course, it is my personal privilege to congratulate our graduates, each of whom is celebrating a major academic milestone. We bask in the reflected glory of your achievement for two reasons. First and primarily, because the call to use your knowledge answers all that can discourage faith in the human condition. In recent months we have rightly mourned the loss of ancient treasures to oppression and willful ignorance, but never more than the human toll exacted by those same forces. You, our graduates, inspire hope. You are a realization of the University’s mission to create, preserve, and transmit knowledge for our collective gain.

Your achievement moves us for a second reason. Your bright futures have been built upon discipline and sacrifice, as your families and friends will surely attest. Beyond personal courage was another factor, a shared tenacity and originality exemplified by your teachers and mentors here at the Graduate Center. You were emboldened to attempt the heterodox, rather than perpetuate the orthodox. I urge you to advance the diversity of ideas that you so perfectly embody.

As proud as we are to see you receive the degrees for which you worked so hard, we trust that you will take pride in joining our group of 13,000 alumni. Once colleagues, you are now partners with us, and we will always call upon you to help us further our public mission.

On behalf of the Graduate Center community, I thank each of you for your persistence and your courage, and I wish you my deepest congratulations.

Submitted on: MAY 27, 2015

Category: Commencements | President's Office - Archive