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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Commencement 2005: Welcome to the Fight

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Commencement 2005

Commencement 2005

See also

  • Two Graduates Share Their Stories

    As eloquent as the medalists were at this year's Convocation, they may have been outshone by TC's own student speakers, Master's graduates Deb Sawch and Carolyn Woods.

  • The Medalists

    The Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service - "our highest honor, with the exception of the title Professor," President Arthur Levine told his convocation audiences - was given this year to a group of people who have truly lived the College's core values.

  • The Amazing Grace of Judy Collins

    TC Board of Trustees co-chair Jack Hyland's account of Judy Collins singing Amazing Grace

At Commencement 2005, TC's graduates are urged to fill some giant shoes

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

With those words, borrowed an from American education reformer Horace Mann, TC President Arthur Levine bid farewell to the mass of doctoral students eagerly waiting to exit the ornate halls of Riverside Church. The doctoral convocation capped a two-day series of four major ceremonies, including two masters convocations and the general Columbia University commencement, that seemed specially designed to reflect the spirit of Mann's words. The nine honorees - a group that included singer Judy Collins, actress Ruby Dee, and pioneering cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner -- were united by their commitment to civil rights and educational equity.

Robert Jackson, who led the Campaign for Fiscal Equity campaign that has fought to change the New York state funding formula on behalf of New York City's children, said, "This lawsuit will hopefully bring about educational justice for the children of New York City, giving them the money that they need to have the opportunity to be whatever they want to be.."

The scale of those sentiments were matched by the scope of the events. TC's class of 2005, with 1,688 graduating Master's students, 180 newly minted Ed.Ds and Ph.Ds and their guests, was large enough to fill even Riverside Church to capacity for three different ceremonies. The general commencement dwarfed even that, with more than 10,000 students and their guests filling the Columbia green Low and Butler libraries.

From an inspirational poem recited by actress Ruby Dee to student speaker Carolyn Woods telling how her experience as a hearing-impaired teacher in a hearing classroom can show us that "each and every one of us now has the tools as well as the responsibility to make a difference in people's lives," the ceremonies put a focus on how Teachers College's newest alumni can work to ensure they leave the world better off than they found it.

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