Dear Members of our TC Community,

Less than two months ago, we made the necessary but painful decision to officially postpone live, in-person Convocation ceremonies and announced that we would hold a “virtual” ceremony that would honor and celebrate our master’s and doctoral graduates. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect, and was acutely aware that I was asking our College Events team to conceive, film, and produce something entirely new from scratch – and quickly.

But if we all have learned anything over the past two and a half months, pivoting quickly and executing challenging tasks successfully is the TC Way. So, it should surprise none of us that our virtual 2020 Convocation ceremony, which premiered last night, was intellectually engaging, deeply moving and inspiring, and brilliant from start to finish. More important, it was a stirring, fitting tribute to our extraordinary graduates and their accomplishments.

I was delighted by everything about this. The beautiful and stirring opening segment on “who” TC is, will never get old. All of the student and faculty speeches had me cheering and crying. The special greetings inspired me, and let’s just say TC’s ceremony certainly did not lack for A-list star quality. The spoken word and musical performances were wonderful. And thank you to the Manhattan School of Music for the miraculous recording of the Eroica that scored the rolling of the names of all of our graduates.

What was amazing is how all of these many pieces and elements came and fit together so beautifully. But then again, I know how this production was brilliantly conceived, produced, promoted, and executed because I know who made it all happen. It all started with Convocation’s talented executive producer Trish McNicholas, who envisioned what this Convocation could be, and then quickly mobilized her fabulous College Events team and her colleagues in the TC’s Office of Development and External Affairs and across the college to turn her vision for the event into a reality. Not only did Trish and her team work every day and often around the clock to see this production through; they also braved traveling to campus and across the city to oversee photo shoots and filming sessions.

Meanwhile, providing Trish and her team with creative, editorial, scripting, marketing, and digital communications support were Jim Gardner and his talented External Affairs crew.

I recognize that so many of you had a hand in last night’s resounding triumph, and I look forward to expressing my appreciation to you individually soon.

In closing, I cannot recommend our 2020 Virtual Convocation highly enough — both to all of my friends and family, and to those of you who missed last night’s premier. You’re in for a treat. And if you’re like me, you’ll want to relive the experience again.

Convocation 2020 showed the College and TC Community at its best. Considering everything we have all gone through as a community over the past 80 days, how great and satisfying it is to end the spring term and academic year on a high note. May each of you enjoy a restful holiday weekend and start to summer. And to each of our graduates: may all your wishes for a good life and better world for us all come true.

Tom Signature

Thomas Bailey
President, Teachers College