“Our students are a lot more determined, adaptive and resilient than perhaps even they realized. None of you signed up to have your entire world turned upside down, but all of you have risen to every challenge… and passed much harder tests of your character and capabilities than anyone could have bargained for.”
—TC President Thomas Bailey

“I can’t be more impressed by what you have committed to do, the time and labor necessary to get to where you are now, and the fact that you are doing it in the coronaverse.”
—Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist & Frederick P. Rose Director, Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History

“Our society will overcome this pandemic and so will you. And when the worst is over, we’ll need your help to rebuild our society even stronger than it was before. You are our future leaders and we have faith in you.”
—Charles Schumer, United States Senator for New York

“This is an amazing, amazing moment, and I am so excited to share it with you by any means possible. I see you, even though we’re not in the same room -- I see you, the work you’re doing in the world, and I am truly, truly grateful.”
—Jacqueline Woodson, author

“You assert that the Civil Rights movement was never just about the rights of black people, it was about making the ideals of the Constitution whole…In our increasingly fragmented society, and at this dark and uncertain moment in the world, those words have never carried greater urgency.”
—Detra Price-Dennis, Associate Professor of Education, introducing medalist Nikole Hannah-Jones

“As I speak, there are millions of children who have simply disappeared from school -- children who have no access to technology from their homes and so there fore cannot access education. And those children are falling further and further behind their more advantaged school mates. We have but a few short months to figure out and respond to these critically important questions for our education and our democracy.”
—Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times journalist and director of The 1619 Project

“We as a city are with you as you begin your professional journey. Our teachers, psychologists, institutional leaders and health professionals are the heroes who are getting through this very difficult time -- and your decision to join their ranks is inspiring.”
—Corey Johnson, Speaker, New York City Council

“Allow me to thank you for everything you’ve contributed along the way and, more importantly for everything you will contribute during the course of your careers.”
—Jelani Cobb, Ira J. Lippman Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

“We are counting on you to keep people healthy, connected and safe. While I know that many of you are separated from family and friends today, please know that the love and pride they feel for you is stronger than any divide we face.”
—Kirsten Gillebrand, United States Senator for New York

“Our 10 academic departments and more than 65 programs are linked by a twin focus on how to teach and who s receiving knowledge and skills.”
—Stephanie J. Rowley, Teachers College Provost, Dean and Vice President, Academic Affairs

"During times like these, our responsibility to ourselves and those around us is only magnified. Our commitment to spreading joy and inciting positive change and to teaching compassion and empathy only deepens."
—Amann Syed Ahmad (M.A. '20, Curriculum & Teaching) 

“Why are New York City schools so segregated? What does an integrated system even look like? And how do we turn that dream into a reality?”

—Rachel Norman (M.A.'20, Education Policy & Social Analysis)

“As we reflect on the entirety of our TC experience, we each have many redefined moments that are worth celebrating.” 
—Woo Jung Amber Kim (M.A. '20, International & Transcultural Studies)

“As a Puerto Rican who was also a first-generation graduate student, I understand what this graduation means to you, to your loved ones, and to your communities. I know that to reach this moment, you have overcome incredible challenges, especially during this distressing semester. And I know that your efforts will prove worthwhile.” Carmen Martínez-Roldán, Associate Professor of Bilingual/Bicultural Education, addressing TC’s first-generation graduates

“We should aim not for what we think is possible but for what we dream could be.”
—Jill Biden, community college educator and former Second Lady

“Over these last months, I’ve been inspired by all of the educators who are finding new ways to be part of that village. We’ve seen everything from creative examples of Zoom classes to parades where teachers drive through neighborhoods to wave and reassure young students.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton

[Read two more stories about Convocation: "Crisis, Opportunity and Inspiration" and "What Matters Most"]