The Big Picture

Goooooo, Graduates!

Big Picture_Grads

DIANE BONDAREFF

The Class of 2021 became alumni with a virtual Class Day experience on April 28. Local members of the class were invited to attend on-campus watch parties, while hundreds of others tuned in remotely with friends and family members.

The keynote speaker, actor and director Mario Van Peebles ’78, addressed the class from a majestic backdrop overlooking the Hudson River and the western skyline; he urged the new grads, who are launching into an uncertain, post-pandemic world, to shake up their “boxes.” “Be a nerd for people, expand your friend group,” Van Peebles said. “Be a critical thinker, be courageous. Don’t be afraid to get into good trouble and effect good change.”

He closed his address with an uplifting directive: “Love and enjoy what you do for a living. Love and enjoy the people you get to work with. And love and enjoy what your work brings to the world. If you get those three career chakras to line up, you’re rich no matter what the paycheck.”

A virtual University Commencement was held on April 30, while Grad Walk festivities offered in-person opportunities to celebrate throughout the week. More than 500 seniors turned out to take photos on the graduation stage and bump elbows with Dean James J. Valentini (see what the dean had to say here).