What I hope for you is best said in the words of theologian, Howard Thurman. "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Enjoy your life, and make a difference.
What an amazing gift you are to my life Jessica.
From the moment I first laid eyes on you in an ultrasound with those big beautiful eyes and adorable face to just last week watching you give your Blue Lion bridge presentation to visiting guests, I have loved you more each day. Watching you blossom over these 21 years has been a privilege and a joy.
And now you are on the edge ready to make one of life's big changes into the so called real world. You have been in the real world since birth, learning from life's challenges and embracing its invitations. But most importantly, you have been loving with your whole heart and soul, caring for yourself and those around you.
I am so proud of you Miss Jessica for who you are and what you have done. I look forward to seeing more unfolding of your life and to being the recipient of your deep love.
Jessica Sacks, '16SEAS
Figure out what you - as an individual - value. Not the things that our society, parents, religion, corporate culture, pop culture or even friends believe to be valuable. The things that inspire a deeply intrinsic childlike happiness in you. These are the things that matter - let them guide you. Never compromise them. Even - and especially - when that means walking away from opportunities, careers or lifestyles that are coveted by so many, yet accessible only to a select few. There is no happiness to be found at the end of another man's road. Follow your gut, never your ego. Stay weird... and stay gold, Ponyboy.
Katie K, '07CC
The only real freedom we have is to choose to love or to choose not to love.
Vasiliki Tsigas-Fotinis, '90GSAS, '90TC
If there's one thing I really learned within the Columbia walls, it's patience. When you look around our excellent campus, you immediately understand all this success and magnificence was not built overnight. It literally took generations. Try to see your life the same way - it is a beautiful, long-term project that in many cases will outlive you. Be extremely patient and keep working towards your goals. I - just like you - have just begun.
Wojtek Skrzypczak, '13GS
Don't be too afraid to take risks and try new things. And know there's always more than one way to achieve your goals.
Ahiza Garcia, '10CC
Congrats 2017. Now it's time for praxis. Trust your instincts and apply your considered theories for the benefit of all. Don't let business as usual slow you down, speak up on efficiencies overlooked or ideas that have been in the 'parking lot for far too long.
Your studies at Columbia have prepared you to become leaders. Share your insights both at work and with your community.
Lastly, keep your eye open for those rare new friends you will soon meet who somehow remain in your life for decades to come. Some of these bonds will be more rewarding than any other endeavour you take on.
Philip Ehrlich, '01SPS
Determination and energy along with the knowledge, analytical skill and friendships you have taken from Columbia will enable your success in meeting your life goals, which, hopefully include happiness, health, intellectual satisfaction and prosperity.
Peggy Farley, '70CC, '72GSAS
Explore and pursue your spiritual side. Humbly give thanks and submit to the living God through the Risen Messiah and He will go ahead of you and lift you up into a remarkable destiny the world alone can't provide.
Jeffrey Daly, '66LAW
Your life is not what you've lived, but what you'll remember. Embrace this moment forever. AWESOME!!
Yordy Arana, '90GSAPP
There are two words that have disappeared from the English language, and I want you to put them back. One is "joy," and the other one is "beauty."
Andrew Fisher, '65CC
Make time to reflect and craft your own big picture.
Shruti Tewari, '94SIPA
Congratulations and good work so far. Continue on for post graduate degree for those who can wait before entering the job market.
Stay very close to your values and never give up without good reason. Education is the first step. The world is often complicated and you must show some flexibility and common sense in making the difficult decisions.
Stay tough! And good luck--you'll need it!
Ray Wong, '74PHARM
Being a new professional is going to be a roller coaster with it's ups and downs as you navigate your new adventure. You might fail, but let that only make you stronger. Take risks and you'll learn more about yourself from those risks. And if you bleed, remember that you bleed blue and you have a network of folks that stood where you are today who will get you back on your feet.
-Nicole Robbins '08TC
Two pieces of advice:
1. VOTE. The right to vote is sacred. You should never be too busy to exercise this fundamental right and responsibility.
2. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH: Being sleepless, lethargic, and addicted to your phone will send you down a path of mediocrity. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise. Make a plan to exercise radical self-care, and you will feel prepared to accomplish anything you choose!
-Wanda Holland Greene '89CC, '91TC
What I hope for you is best said in the words of theologian, Howard Thurman. "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Enjoy your life, and make a difference.
-Eddie Goldstein '72SEAS
Dear Graduates and Fellow Alums,
Congratulations on a major accomplishment in your lives. Go forward with the confidence, knowledge, skills and values you have gained from our esteemed Alma Mater (Other Mother) and leave a positive impact on the world!
-Darrin Wright '04SW
Make a shelf for your Lit Him books. Never stop being inspired by the Core. Even though you have graduated, give Columbia as much time and love as you can spare. Reunions are great, not just for your classmates but to be back with your memories. Your relationship with Columbia should be a lifetime, not just four years.
-Richard Simonds '87CC
On graduation day, you'll be sure to hear the theme from "New York, New York" playing on the loudspeakers at the close of the ceremony. But even as Frank Sinatra sings "If I can make it here, I'll make it anywhere," know that making it to Columbia, and making it to graduation day, does not mean that you've made it in the real world. For all of your academic successes, you will have to prove yourself all over again in life after college.
Columbia is an amazing place, and I hope you found your college experience to be as nurturing as I have. No matter your next steps, whether or not you know exactly what those steps may be, prepare yourself for the new challenges ahead of you. Have the right mindset and do not fall victim to any semblance of Ivy League Entitlement. Nothing in life is given. You have to earn everything.
Congratulations are due to you for all of your hard work in getting to the finish line on graduation day. I hope you feel ready as you begin the rest of your life. May you prosper and do your part in making the world a better place for everyone, especially for those who have not had the amazing opportunities from which you have benefited thus far.
-Anthony R. '13SEAS
Social Work is one of the most interesting and rewarding careers you can have. Knowledge of how to help [others is] exploding. Get your license and say that you are a social worker! You can help others and improve your knowledge for a lifetime!
-Anna Rickell '69SW
I would suggest the following:
1. Try to obtain a job in a field that you like very much. I think that you should enjoy your job (at least 50%) and you should believe that you are being adequately paid (at least 50%).
2. Work very hard and honestly and try to expand your responsibilities on that job by offering to do more than you are asked to do. This would include volunteering to fill in where needed.
3. Try to obtain a mentor at your place of work or outside that place who can help you get ahead in your field.
4. It is very important to be a person of integrity and to be courteous and respectful to your colleagues and client/customers.
-Robert Barron '60LAW
Heartiest congratulations for achieving one most significant step in your professional life journey. You have earned a dear success with pain and enjoyment; yet much and much more to come. Columbia has offered you more beyond best academics and training. Columbia has filled you with an extreme system of capabilities that will often keep you ahead of the curve, but always at its topmost index. A system of great values, telescopic vision, cognitive superiority, and deep thinking. It is limitless.
Develop on your earned capabilities.
Keep the values.
My best wishes to all of you on your next endeavor.
Hany Kadry Dimian '96SIPA
Former Minister of Finance of Egypt
"Columbia will open a lot of doors but it is your job to keep them open. GPA, class rank mean nothing in the real world. A successful life is more about being in the right place at the right time. Be social, respect others' opinions and seek to improve not only yourself but others around you. Live by the "golden rule" and opportunities will flood your life. Once they do do not be afraid to take risks and choose to do what you WANT to do and what makes you happy. Enjoy going to work not coming home from work. The only downside is that life will pass so quickly before you know it you are a grandparent so never forget to smell the roses along the way."
-Mark Honig '81CC
It's totally fine to wind up somewhere different from where you thought you would be when you graduate and begin your career. Just like a class you didn't think you'd love, each opportunity comes with a chance to learn a bit more about yourself and what you want to do with your life. You'll be surprised by what you'll learn in those unlikely places.
Darlene Feliciano, '12GS
There are 3 critical elements to a successful career. Networking, networking and networking. It's not about your next job or opportunity. It's about contacts and information.
Mathew Dunleavy, '82, '84SEAS
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy. -- Kalu Ndukwe Kal, American/Nigerian footballer
Stephan Rey, '85BUS
Our Nation, indeed our World, is hungry for meta data and analytics and any cool sifting and winnowing process to help make some profits out of the proper application of those calculations! Be sure to take the time to stop and drill down past the averages and the standard deviations from the mean to see yourself and other human beings in the data. There is life-giving nuance in looking past the numbers to the individuals (datum) that were used to make up that data.
Mark Hoffman, '72CC
School teaches you the tools for HOW things get done. But to succeed, you need to understand WHY.... in your first years of work, take extra time to learn why the decisions around you are made the way they are.
Christopher Reim, '11SIPA
Columbia will open a lot of doors but it is your job to keep them open. GPA, class rank mean nothing in the real world. A successful life is more about being in the right place at the right time.
Be social, respect others' opinions and seek to improve not only yourself but others around you. Live by the "golden rule" and opportunities will flood your life. Once they do do not be afraid to take risks and choose to do what you WANT to do and what makes you happy. Enjoy going to work not coming home from work.
The only downside is that life will pass so quickly before you know it you are a grandparent so never forget to smell the roses along the way.
Mark Honig, '81CC