Three Classes Honored at 56th Commencement
The classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 were celebrated at the first commencement in three years.
On Thursday, the Graduate Center held its first Commencement since 2019. The lively ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn drew more than 430 doctoral and master’s graduates from the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 along with their families and loved ones, who cheered the graduates on as they crossed the stage. In one particularly memorable moment, Ph.D. in Political Science graduate, Lucia Green-Weiskel, received her doctoral hood while carrying her infant in a sling.
“This group of graduates in front of me is the most resilient set of graduates, said Raj Korpan (Ph.D. ’21, Computer Science), who spoke on behalf of the graduates. “A pandemic upended our lives, changed the way we live overnight, and made us fearful of what the future may hold.”
Still, he said, “Through it all, you persisted and sit here as a graduate.” That dedication, he added, “is what will help you always achieve your goals.”
Themes of resilience and tremendous accomplishment rung out in the remarks to the graduates.
Professor Emeritus Stephen Brier (Urban Education, Digital Humanities, Liberal Studies), who gave the Commencement address, also acknowledged the hardships the graduates faced and overcame. He congratulated them for their incredible perseverance in completing what he likened to running a marathon.
He focused his remarks on ways that graduates can support CUNY and public graduate education in general. “I committed my life to public higher education more than half a century ago because of my very deep and personal connection to this vital institution that is so well and fully realized at CUNY.”
He urged the graduates, “As you move on from the Graduate Center into whatever field, academic or otherwise, that you pursue, I implore each and every one of you to exemplify and defend the intellectual and social values that have defined democratic public education in general and your graduate education here in specific.“
Closing out the program, President Robin L. Garrell, called the Commencement very special, telling the graduates, “What you have accomplished is extraordinary. It’s unprecedented. We all know that graduate school is challenging, but the challenges you faced were almost unimaginable. … We need to commend you for your amazing resilience. You persevered. You’ve succeeded, often exceeding all expectations.”
She encouraged the graduates, “As you write your story in the years ahead, please consider this: Each and every one of you is a leader. You can be a leader wherever you are, whatever your role. … We hope that your futures will be guided by the same commitment to excellence and public service that has grounded your experience at CUNY and that defines our mission as a university. … We can’t wait to see what you do next.”
Watch Commencement 2022