Dear CCNY Graduates of the Class of 2021,
There are moments in our history that impress an indelible mark upon us, when we are called to do extraordinary things under the press of an indescribable moment. Anyone graduating in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic will be marked by this extraordinary moment. But even among that national class graduating in 2021, you are different.
We stand at the cusp of a national return from the isolation, peril and social dislocation of the pandemic. We will, all of us, be marked by these dangerous years, by what we have come through and endured, but no less, by how we rise and respond. At a time when the inequitable imprint of this scourge underscores the other inequities in our society, the City College—and those who work, study and graduate here—stand apart. You graduate from an institution established to redress inequality, an institution that insists on each generation of graduates the responsibility of scanning the social and political landscape, and setting out to rectify that which seems unfair, unjust or inequitable.
As an institution, we were made for this moment, a moment when the revival of so much that we hold dear requires the energy, insight and creativity of the whole people. As graduates of CCNY, you now shoulder the responsibility of advancing your vision of a strong and just society, as so many before you have done.
You have struggled, sometimes mightily and against long odds, to reach this day, and we revel with you in the pride of your accomplishment. You have contributed, in your questions and your ideas, to our vision, and as an institution we have adjusted that vision to account for your values and experiences. We have witnessed the flowering of your potential and expansion of your capacity.
For all of these reasons, and with sadness and joy, we now bid you farewell in the full confidence of what you will do with your gifts. Hold tight to the vision of our college, and carry it into the world as you leave. Cherish and nurture a sense of yourself as especially equipped to meet the demands of the day. Be confident in your voice, even as you venture into new and different territory. You leave our campus equipped for your professional life, with academic credentials and a full cache of skills. But you also carry a vision of a better day, and it needs constantly to be nourished by your courage and commitment. You are the light of our lives, the fulfillment of our hopes, and our best chance at a fair and just society. I am honored to offer each and every one of you my most enthusiastic and profound congratulations.
With my warmest congratulations,