Welcome to the Fight | Teachers College Columbia University

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Welcome to the Fight

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."
Teachers College graduates are urged to fill some giant shoes

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

With those words, borrowed from American education reformer Horace Mann, TC President Arthur Levine bid farewell in May 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 master's convocations and the general Columbia University commencement, that seemed 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.

The scale of those sentiments was matched by the scope of the events. TC's class of 2005 and their guests were large enough to fill the church to capacity for three ceremonies. From an inspirational poem recited by Dee to deaf student speaker Carolyn Woods, who asserted 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 showed how Teachers College's newest alumni can help leave the world better off than they found it.

Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005