Congressman Towns, Trustee Connie Silver, Vice Chancellor Mills, faculty, staff, family members, friends, and graduates, welcome to the Silver School of Social Work's 2013 Convocation, the 53rd graduating class of our proud School. 625 total graduates.
Graduates, you are an amazing group.
PhD students, you successfully planned, implemented, and defended your dissertation. You became a scholar and have positioned yourself for a leader career.
MSW students, you come from over 25 different states and 30 different countries from Arizona, to Wisconsin - and from Argentina to Zambia. Your class represents an ideal of the School, lifelong learning. Some of you are 22 years old, others range in age from the ripe age of 20 to youthful 50- and 60-year-old learners. You represent many ethnic and racial groups. Thirty percent of you are changing careers – including but in no way limited to a lawyer from China and a teacher from the Bronx and a successful Manhattan business person. Many of you have already demonstrated your commitment to service to humanity through your previous experience in the Peace Corps, Teach for America, Citi Year Corp, and many other service-oriented organizations.
Baccalaureate students, your class is keen on international social work, very fitting for NYU, the Global Network University. You were placed at the International Rescue Committee and UNICEF. You volunteered in Ghana, South Africa, and India. You became experts and educated others about the plight of refugees. You advocated for immigrants who have been detained in jails with no rights. You always strive to be culturally competent....
Graduates, you come from many walks of life ... with a common purpose - to be a proud graduate of the Silver School of Social Work and to be a social worker who can transform lives and transform society, making our world a better place.
En route to this proud goal, you shared many experiences together...
- You struggled to come to a deep understanding of the profession of social work and to learn about aspects of our profession that you were unaware of.
- You provided 600,000 hours of service to greater New York communities in your field placements in over 650 agencies.
- You learned the complex biological, societal, and psychological forces that shape human behavior.
- You learned how historical societal forces such as slavery, racism, and oppression shape personal experiences and create lasting social inequalities.
- You learned that who you are affects your work with your clients. You learned to use your unique qualities in a constructive way to change people and to change society.
- You learned how science is shaping social work. Some of you will produce tomorrow’s scientific knowledge for our field.
- You accepted the awesome responsibility to work with clients to change their lives in your field placements.
- You learned the latest and the classic intervention approaches.
- You left a legacy of change in improvement in your first-year field placement with your Planning, Organization, and Provision of Services (fondly known as POPS) project. This project has launched your leadership in the field.
- Graduates, guests, and fellow faculty, please join me in recognizing the accomplishments of the Class of 2013.