Congratulations to the Class of 2023 and Thank You

May 26, 2023

As the semester ends, President Robin L. Garrell celebrates the many successes of our students and faculty.

President's Office Email Header - Fall 2022

Dear Graduate Center community,

As we close out the semester and prepare to honor the Class of 2023 at Commencement, let’s take a moment to celebrate the many successes of our students and faculty.

First, our deep congratulations to the 520 members of the Class of 2023: 381 doctoral and 139 master’s degree recipients. Graduates, through years of study and research, you have proven to be scholars worthy of a CUNY Graduate Center degree. That is a tremendous accomplishment, and we admire you greatly for it. The knowledge, abilities, mentors, and friends you have gained will serve you well throughout your career and life.

Already, we’ve heard about the impressive trajectories of our graduates. They have accepted tenure-track faculty appointments at Vassar College, Syracuse University, Hunter College, Lehman College, Loyola Marymount University, and York University. Others are moving on to postdoctoral appointments at the American Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Hoover Institution, among many others. And three Cognitive Neuroscience master’s graduates will return to the Graduate Center in August as Ph.D. students. Congratulations, everyone!

The May 17 Dissertation Showcase was held in person for the first time in four years. It offered insights into the fascinating research of 13 Ph.D. students who are completing their degrees. The presenters wowed our large audience and the panel of judges as they distilled years of scholarship into compelling, three-minute stories. Please join me in congratulating the 2023 Dissertation Showcase award-winners: Stanley Chen (Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences), who won the Presidential Prize for Public Communication, and Melanie Fessinger (Psychology), who won the Audience Choice Award. Our master’s students have presented their research in similar showcases, and I commend them as well.

This semester, students and faculty have attracted well-deserved attention and funding for their cutting-edge, engaged scholarship.

The NSF-supported NanoBioNYC program, which is based at the Advanced Science Research Center and led by Professor Rein Ulijn, prepares diverse Ph.D. students for careers that blend aspects of the life sciences with nanoscience. This spring, through an innovative crowdfunding campaign, the leaders of the NanoBioNYC program have raised $11,500 to date, out of their $15,000 goal, to support students in the program.

In April, we announced a $2 million grant from the Waverly Street Foundation to launch the NYC Climate Justice Hub. The hub is a CUNY-wide initiative created in partnership with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance to find equitable, community-led climate solutions for New York City. The grant is administered by the Center for the Humanities, with leadership from Director Kendra Sullivan and Professor Michael Menser. Graduate Center students will benefit from fellowships through this initiative.

Earlier in the semester, we shared the welcome news that the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded support to the Digital Humanities Research Institute to broaden access to digital humanities resources and training for scholars, curators, and librarians nationwide. I commend Lisa Rhody, deputy director of Graduate Center Digital Initiatives, and Professor Stephen Zweibel for leading this effort and for keeping the Graduate Center at the forefront of advancing digital humanities skills and scholarship.

Our students have been awarded many prestigious fellowships for the year ahead, including an ACLS/Luce Dissertation Fellowship in American Art and an ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship, several AAUW Dissertation Fellowships, two Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, the New York Historical Society Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, and the Center for Engaged Scholarship Dissertation Fellowship. You can read about some of them in this news story.

Altogether, 76 doctoral candidates won fellowships of $10,000 to $25,000 — totaling nearly $1.5 million — through our annual GC Dissertation Fellowship competition. These fellowships recognize the incredible talent and accomplishments of our students, who have benefited from guidance and mentorship by faculty at the Graduate Center and throughout CUNY. We are also excited that two inbound Ph.D. students have been awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.

Our faculty continue to garner honors and awards for their scholarship. Among the distinctions we applaud this semester:

  • Three faculty members —Professor Emerita Ofelia García, Distinguished Professor Virginia Valian, and Professor Linda Martín Alcoff — were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Distinguished Professor Wayne Koestenbaum, Professor Tanya Pollard, and alumna Deborah Lutz (Ph.D. ’04, English) received Guggenheim fellowships.
  • In January, Presidential Professor Leslie McCall and Professor Núria Rodríguez-Planas and alumna Alexandrea Ravenelle (Ph.D. ’18, Sociology) were named Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholars in recognition of their social science research.

Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their achievements.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the 2023 Commencement, which will be held on June 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. Let’s continue to work with together to ensure a bright future for our students, the Graduate Center, and the many communities we serve.

With very best wishes,

Robin L. Garrell