Dear Members of the TC Community:

I am delighted to announce the recipients of the Teachers College 2022 Medal for Distinguished Service—the highest honor we bestow.

The medalists, each of whom will address TC graduating students at the Convocation ceremonies on the topic of “change,” are Dr. Torian Easterling, First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content for Sesame Workshop and former TC faculty member; Kathryn Garcia, ​​Director of New York State Operations and former New York City mayoral candidate; and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Dr. Rosemarie Truglio is the honoree at TC’s first master's degree ceremony on the morning of Monday, May 23. As the leader of curriculum and content for Sesame Workshop, she models the power of translating often dense research findings into innovative and engaging content that educates and inspires. Her breadth of vision was in full view during the COVID-19 crisis when she spearheaded Sesame Workshop’s global multimedia campaign “Caring for Each Other,” which was remarkable for its creativity in addressing the full range of challenges facing kids and families during the pandemic. Before starting her career at Sesame Workshop, Dr. Truglio was an Assistant Professor of Communication and Education at Teachers College from 1990 to 1997, and we are proud to call her a member of the TC family.

Dr. Torian Easterling will be honored at TC’s second master's degree ceremony on the evening of Monday, May 23. Dr. Easterling has said that he “was called to public health service because of my passion for social justice, health equity, and movement building” and his career is a powerful demonstration of his commitment to these principles. He participated in the rebuilding of post-civil war Liberia’s healthcare system and headed to Haiti to respond to the public health crisis after its 2010 earthquake. As the architect of New York City’s COVID-19 equity response plan, he led focused door-to-door outreach in the most disproportionately impacted areas of the city to build trust and connect individuals with critical services. In every aspect of his work, he has brought to bear an awareness of how structural racism contributes to inequitable health outcomes and has leveraged the power of communities to shape holistic solutions.

Kathryn Garcia will be honored at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony midday on Monday, May 23. Since the beginning of her career, Ms. Garcia has dedicated herself to improving the lives of New Yorkers by innovating and streamlining to ensure they received the safe and effective services they deserve: She restored safe drinking water in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, led reforms to improve the resiliency of the city’s systems in the face of climate change, and spearheaded LeadFreeNYC—a roadmap for eliminating childhood lead exposure. Again and again, New York City’s mayors have turned to Ms. Garcia as the most capable individual to lead critical government agencies out of crisis, and in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor turned to her yet again. As the “food czar” during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Garcia led a massive mobilization effort to distribute nutritious food to families across the city and avert food insecurity.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will be honored at our special Convocation ceremony for 2020 and 2021 graduates on Sunday, May 22, speaking to graduates in a pre-recorded address. More than “America’s doctor,” Dr. Fauci has become the nation’s foremost educator, illustrating the value of policy informed by science. His leadership during our era’s defining public health crises—HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, COVID-19—rests on his own important medical contributions, such as the discovery of how HIV affects the body’s B cells to cripple antibody defenses. Seven U.S. Presidents have listened to him precisely because, as he has said, he refuses to say what people want to hear. He has steadfastly championed the world’s most vulnerable populations and has modeled that rarest of leadership attributes: the willingness to learn and change.

I can’t imagine more worthy recipients of the College’s highest honor, and it is a tribute to the extraordinary accomplishments of our 2020, 2021 and 2022 graduates that they will be joining us for Convocation.

As a reminder, the last day to register for Convocation tickets is tomorrow, Friday, April 22 at 5 pm EST—visit the Convocation website to reserve your seats.

I look forward to celebrating with all of you in May!


Tom Bailey's Signature

Thomas Bailey
President, Teachers College