The Most Rewarding Adventure Their Lives
Published in Inside - Volume XVI, No. 2
The entering class is urged to engage in work that matters
"What a thrill it is for me to welcome you to the beginning of what I hope will be among the most rewarding adventures of your lives."
With those words, TC President Susan Fuhrman greeted the largest and most diverse entering class in TC’s 123-year history. Her remarks, delivered in Milbank Chapel on Tuesday, August 31, kicked off a longer program of orientation events that included a block party on 120th Street, sessions on academic expectations and tours around the city.
Standing before a screen that proclaimed “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another” (John Dewey), Fuhrman shared her own experience of arriving at the College 37 years ago, when she had the opportunity to study with top education policy experts such as Donna Shalala who would later serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration.
"I was excited because I knew that at last I was going to be part of something that was going to make a difference," she said.
TC graduates go on to change the world, Fuhrman said, citing the examples of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress and to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination; Thomas Kean, Governor of New Jersey and later chair of the 9/11 Commission; and Angela Santomero, the creator of “Blues Clues,” the popular children’s educational television show.
“It won’t be long after you earn your degrees that I will be bragging about you in speeches to new students," Fuhrman said.
TC Provost Tom James encouraged the students to find ways to make a difference while still at TC. “We don’t exist behind a wall,” he said. “The work we do is engaged work—it’s about the building of capacity across very different societies.”
TC Student Senate President Michael Swart seconded that idea. Though students at TC are involved in a wide cross-section of disciplines, Swart cited one significant commonality: “We have decided to become part of the social fabric that makes up the world.”