Remarks by Chase F. Robinson

Closing Remarks President Robinson 2018

Commencement Remarks by Chase F. Robinson

President, The Graduate Center
May 30, 2018

With all the degrees conferred, it’s time to bring the formalities to a close so that you — our former students — can launch into the celebrations that you deserve. 
Your time as students is over — for most of you, I imagine, probably forever. So make those celebrations count!
But permit me very briefly — in having the last word tonight — to insist that you make your Graduate Center education count. Over the last few years, you’ve had the benefit of the inspiration, the creativity, and of course, the friendship of faculty and fellow students. In ways that I can’t possibly capture now, they’ve modelled how to make that education count. And tonight you’ve been introduced to three more exemplars, each an illustration of the enormous impact of education when it’s combined with a commitment to what’s right, to what’s good, to what can be.  
What lessons does Patricia Wright have to teach about primates and society? “Interestingly, the female leaders don’t strut around a lot,” she’s said. “They work out the relationships in the group peaceably. That’s made me think it might be time for our species to do things more the lemur way.”
What do our borders say about us, about our laws, about our principles? According to Neal Katyal, speaking about the travel ban: “It's unconstitutional. It's unnecessary. And most of all, it's un-American.”
And, in a world increasingly divided between the haves and have-nots, between people and superelites, where are we to stand? The Guardian, in Katharine Viner’s words, is to be “on the people’s side.”
It’s late in the evening but early in your careers. There are many challenges — too many challenges — but your skills and your energies are prodigious. You have the opportunity now to pursue careers — like those which we honored here this evening — focused on advancing the common good.
Make your time and your knowledge count through your own commitment and through your own principles — above all, by redeeming the promise of the public education that you’ve received.