Class of 2012 Become the Newest Alumni
By Lisa Palladino
The rain held off for much of the day as the Class of 2012 celebrated Class Day on May 15 on South Lawn. The 1,132 graduates marched to the familiar chords of Pomp and Circumstance as family and friends looked on and 175 alumni from as far back as 1949 walked with their class banners in the Alumni Parade of Classes, shepherding the graduates into the alumni community.
Salutatorian Zachary Evan Levine ’12 delivered the first speech, followed by keynote speaker John R. “Rick” MacArthur ’78, an award-winning journalist, an author and president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine. MacArthur made light of the fact that he was speaking in the shadow of Barnard’s May 14 Commencement speaker, President Barack Obama ’83: “Many of you are disappointed I am not President of the United States … I share your disappointment.”
Dean James J. Valentini urged the graduates to “take pride in being graduates of the greatest college, in the greatest university, in the greatest city in the world” and was followed by brief remarks from President Lee C. Bollinger. Stephanie Foster ’12 and Jacob Goren ’12, co-chairs of the Senior Fund, presented the Class Gift. They noted that the class had surpassed its goals of 750 donors to the Senior Fund (thereby securing a gift of $100,000 from Charles Santoro ’82) and 200 donors to Valentini’s “3-2-1” Challenge of committing to give $20.12 for three years, convincing two friends to do the same and then having the gift matched by an alumnus (this year, Gene Davis ’75 matched all gifts). After remarks by Class President Sarah Chai ’12, the names of the graduates were read and they received class pins from four members of the 50th anniversary Class of 1962.
The next day, the University Commencement ceremony of the 258th academic year was held on South Lawn with upward of 11,000 degree candidates and more than 30,000 participants and guests in attendance. Among the 10 recipients of the Alumni Medal, given for distinguished service of 10 years or more to the University, were Robert H. Douglas ’70 and Nicholas Rudd ’64, ’67 Business. Honored with the University Medal for Excellence, presented each year to an alumnus/a under 45 whose record in scholarship, public service or professional life is outstanding, was Thomas R. Kitt ’96, who won Pulitzer and Tony Awards for writing the score to the Broadway hit Next to Normal.