“Think big, think bold and believe in the possible,” Helene D. Gayle, CEO of the non-profit Chicago Community Trust, advised graduates at TC’s third master’s degree ceremony, held on Tuesday afternoon. “Let passion be your guide and let the unexpected become the expected.”
Addressing graduates of the Departments of Human Development, International & Transcultural Studies, Mathematics, Science & Technology and Organization & Leadership, Gayle, recipient of TC’s Medal for Distinguished Service, offered her own life story as text. The daughter of a social worker and a businessman, the Buffalo public school graduate earned a Barnard College psychology degree, an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She became an acclaimed authority on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues, earning a place on Forbes’ list of “100 Most Powerful Women” and the sobriquet of “my queen” from Bono.
“Think big, think bold and believe in the possible. Let passion be your guide and let the unexpected become the expected.”
—Helene D. Gayle
The day’s other speakers echoed Gayle’s call to look for opportunity.
TC President Susan Fuhrman invoked the example of Grace Hoadley Dodge, the College’s founder. It was Dodge’s unique vision to establish a College that would prepare educators and scientists to work with immigrant students and their families, who had recently fled poverty, war, and prejudice – and were still encountering xenophobia and economic peril, Fuhrman said. That purpose continues to guide an institution that has become “a research powerhouse,” helping TC “understand the different populations we serve.”
2018 Convocation: Masters III
Fuhrman acknowledged that “The challenges confronting our society are daunting. But my faculty colleagues and I are optimistic, because we have taken the full measure of your talents, integrity, and readiness.”
Nathan Mullen, the International Education Development program graduate selected as the afternoon’s student speaker, suggested that his fellow graduate embrace the circuitous path that awaits many who work to improve lives through education, research and philanthropy.
"Climb down, to your left, to your right and zig-zag all over,” said Mullen, whose grandfather, David John Mullen Sr., preceded him across the TC Convocation stage 64 years ago. “It has been our diverse experiences that have earned us a seat at Columbia, and it will be our diverse experiences that enable us to discover and fulfill our duty.” – Steve Giegerich