A Message From the President: Welcome to Fall 2020

August 26, 2020

We begin the new fall semester with great optimism. It is my special pleasure to welcome our 636 new doctoral and master's students.


Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome you to the start of The Graduate Center's fall semester. I hope you were able to take some time to relax with your families and friends this summer, spend time outdoors, and sit back with a good book.

It is my special pleasure to welcome our 636 new doctoral and master's students. As I say in this video, the world needs the knowledge that you will create and the discoveries that you will make. Begin today to shape the arc of your Graduate Center experience.

We begin the new fall semester with great optimism. I want to thank the many faculty, administrators, and staff who have worked so hard preparing for a successful start. The Graduate Center's phased reactivation plan has been approved by CUNY Central and is en route to the governor's office. Although we may not be together in the same space, we remain committed to strengthening our connections to each other and supporting the ideas and research that drive us.

Our first priority is supporting the safety and health of our Graduate Center and local communities. At this time, all classes, public programs, and meetings are being conducted remotely. Only our exceptional essential workers will be on campus for now, and building occupancy remains at 5%.

The reactivation plan is an organic document, based on the best knowledge and evidence, and designed to allow us to respond to and effectively communicate changing situations. If you have concerns or questions, please know that we welcome your questions and will respond with the best information available. I know that some of our students have found direct communication somewhat frustrating recently, but be assured that we are finding ways to be present for them.

The return to campus activities will be conducted in phases. The Graduate Center is in phase 1 of reactivation. The Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center has moved into phase 3 of their ramp-up plan, which means a gradual increase of on-site research and administrative personnel. We will be in close communication with CUNY Central and will share updates with you about our progress.

The pressing issues of this extraordinary time will be the focus of our ongoing series of public programs this fall, which will be offered online. The conversations will connect us to experts who are focused on education, the workforce, our criminal justice system, climate change, and other issues affecting our communities and the nation. Information will be coming your way shortly about this exciting Change series featuring Graduate Center faculty, including Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Cathy Davidson, Carla Shedd, and Paul Krugman.

The Leon Levy Center for Biography has announced its fall discussions with renowned biographers. Featured a bit later this semester will be The Graduate Center's David Reynolds on his latest book about Abraham Lincoln. Reynolds' book is one of many important new books published this season by Graduate Center faculty, among them Richard Alba, Margaret Chin, Kevin Nadal, and Stanley Renshon.

We have a full semester ahead of us. I look forward to working with you to advance our shared goal: being together once again to safely converse, collaborate, and create.

With best wishes,

Robin L. Garrell