The Class of 2017 Commences
With heartfelt congratulations and parting words of wisdom, the GC celebrated the commencement of the Class of 2017 at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on Friday, June 2 — a day that, fittingly, was picture-perfect.
The GC conferred 429 doctorates and 91 master’s degrees and awarded honorary degrees to civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta, artist Wael Shawky, and economist Lord Nicholas Stern.
LuAnn Walther (Ph.D. ’78, English), a senior vice president and editorial director for Vintage Books, Anchor Books, and Everyman’s Library at Alfred A. Knopf, received the 2017 President's Distinguished Alumni Medal.
Student speaker Seçil Yilmaz (Ph.D. ’17, History) captured the sentiment of the day, telling her fellow graduates, “As of today, our home is beyond the Graduate Center. Our responsibilities . . . for intellectual freedom, social justice, and equality are beyond the borders and all the imagined and real walls.”
Yilmaz, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Society for the Humanities and Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University who will begin a faculty appointment at Franklin & Marshall College in 2018, also thanked her GC mentors who “provided a safe and respectable place for my intellectual and personal integrity since the day I arrived from Istanbul, Turkey, almost a decade ago.”
In his commencement address, Distinguished Professor Jesse Prinz (Philosophy) mixed sobering thoughts on the state of the world in 2017 with guidance for the graduates in their roles as scholars. “In a nation with few public intellectuals, we need to find ways to foster dialogue that extends beyond the ivory tower,” he said.
He concluded, “I have worked in many graduate programs, but I have never seen a more talented, intellectually adventurous, politically astute, and forward-thinking student body. This is a group that can and will change the academy. This is a group that can and will change the world.”
Submitted on: JUN 9, 2017
Category: Commencements | General GC News