New York University Holds 174th Commencement


Some 19,000 Graduates and Guests Attend in Washington Square Park

University Bestows Honorary Degrees on Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, Xerox CEO Anne Marie Mulcahy, writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet, and civic leader Wilma Stein Tisch

Beverly Sills Greenough to Receive NYU’s Rudin Award

Rita Hauser to Receive NYU’s Gallatin Medal

New York University President John Sexton and Trustees Chair Martin Lipton today officiated at NYU’s 174th Commencement. Some 6,000 students receiving undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, and 13,000 guests attended the morning ceremony. The ceremony, which was also attended by alumni, faculty, and other members of the University community, was held in Washington Square Park, at the heart of NYU’s Greenwich Village campus.

Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, gave the “Response on Behalf of the Honorary Degree Recipients,” an NYU tradition; he received a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa.

The University also bestowed honorary doctorates on:

  • Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer, actor and founder of the Baryshnikov Center for the Performing Arts; he received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa
  • Anne Marie Mulcahy, chair and CEO of Xerox; she received a Doctor of Commercial Science degree, honoris causa
  • Alain Robbe-Grillet, avant-garde novelist and filmmaker; he received a Doctor of Letters degree, honoris causa
  • Wilma Stein Tisch, civic leader; she received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa

For her outstanding leadership at the Metropolitan Opera and at Lincoln Center, Beverly Sills Greenough, chairwoman emerita of both those performing arts institutions, was awarded the “Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Public Service” during the Commencement ceremony. The award honors the service to the city and its communities typified by Lewis Rudin during his life.

Rita Hauser - an alumna of the NYU School of Law and president of the Hauser Foundation - was awarded the University’s Albert Gallatin Medal at NYU’s Commencement. The Gallatin Medal, first presented to NYU alumnus Dr. Jonas Salk in 1957, is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to society. It was bestowed upon Dr. Hauser for her distinguished career in the law and public service, and for her visionary support of global education at NYU.

Dr. Sexton said, “Each year we honor leaders whose accomplishments and contributions are something to which we hope our graduates will aspire as they leave NYU and go on to careers and further study. They are people of achievement who decide the most important issues of the day, promote knowledge and scholarship, lead major corporations, foster innovation, create art, and add to the prosperity of humankind.

“This is a day of great pride for NYU. In a community of scholars and learners, no day is at once more solemn and joyous than that in which our teaching and our knowledge passes out to the world through our graduating students. We are so happy and proud of them. On behalf of NYU’s faculty and the entire community, I offer my congratulations to our graduates, and their families.”

The graduate student speaker at the 2006 Commencement Exercises was Kimani Paul-Emile, who received a Ph.D. in American studies from the Graduate School of Arts and Science. A graduate of Brown University, where she was a track and field champion, and Georgetown Law School, she worked in staff positions at Center for Constitutional Rights and, later, at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. She choose to pursue a doctorate to embrace the opportunities to shape policy offered by research and teaching, believing an academic career could be “a far more formidable tool than law in illuminating and understanding social inequality and in promoting and achieving meaningful and lasting social justice.” Ms. Paul-Emile is the daughter of two NYU graduates: her parents met here as students at NYU’s Washington Square College in the late 1950’s.

The undergraduate student speaker at the 2006 Commencement Exercises was Chinaka Hodge, who received a B.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. A native of Oakland, CA, she is a poet, playwright, and radio personality, and is the former National Youth Poetry Slam Champion. Among her volunteer efforts, she has been a mentor and board member for Youth Speaks, a literary arts center that encourages teens to express themselves through writing and poetry.

In keeping with NYU tradition, Commencement included “The Ceremony of the Torch.” The University torch - designed and fashioned by Tiffany and Co. in sterling silver and donated to the University in 1911 - was passed from a senior member of the faculty - Professor George Stoney, Paulette Goddard Professor of Film in the Tisch School of the Arts, — to the youngest undergraduate degree recipient, Tiffany Walden, a 19-year-old graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School.

Participants in the Commencement Exercises included degree recipients from all of NYU’s schools and colleges. The Hippocratic Oath was administered to the medical doctors graduating from the NYU School of Medicine at Commencement.


New York University is located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Founded in 1831, NYU is this year celebrating its 175th anniversary. It is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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