2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

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Goodbye and Welcome

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President Susan Fuhrman

President Susan Fuhrman

Susan Fuhrman exhorts graduates to use what they have learned

Of all the occasions in our packed and busy year, this is the most important—and the most joyous—because it’s the day when not only you, our graduates, but also we, the faculty, staff, alumni and friends of TC, can congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

TC’s mission is to help achieve excellence and equity in education—and you, our graduates, are taking up that challenge for the future.

Ambrose Bierce wrote that responsibility is “a detachable burden, easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology, it was customary to unload it upon a star.”

Today, you are our stars, and we are not so much unloading responsibility upon you as welcoming you to share its burden. We do so with a glad heart, because we know that it is a responsibility that all of you have sought with open arms.
You are a hugely and wonderfully diverse group.

Our master’s degree recipients—all 1,902 of them—come from 45 states and the District of Columbia, and from 39 other nations, as diverse as Australia, Ghana, China, Norway, Slovenia and Thailand.

The careers our graduates are embarking upon—and the potential scope of the impact they will have upon human life and well-being—is enormous.

In this room are the people who will teach our children and grandchildren to read, to dance, to play and appreciate music; to overcome learning disabilities and problems with speech and hearing; to take advantage of their giftedness in math and science; to grapple with family problems, career choices and physical handicaps; to take care of their bodies; and to help others learn to do all these things as well.

They will teach others to serve as nurses and health educators; ensure that those who are blind, deaf or physically challenged enjoy the fullest possible access to education; research and devise new tools and theories of learning and cognition; and create new and better measurements of ability and intelligence, new standards for professional certification and new systems for the social organization of schools.

They will be advocates and negotiators for peace and the resolution of conflicts between nations, communities and individuals; they will be experts in bilingual and multilingual education; they will work with teenagers and set up educational exchanges with other countries. They will be school principals, human resource managers, experts in professional development and continuing education. They will design learning software and create curricula; and they will help others learn to do all these things as well.

Our graduates are extraordinary people. They have plans to change the world, and many will succeed. We are fortunate to have known them, nurtured them and equipped them for their work.

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