11-Time Grammy Winner Taylor Swift addressed some 19,000 students receiving undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees at the morning ceremony

Taylor Swift at Podium at NYU 2022 Commencement
NYU Photo Bureau

NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Trustees Chair William Berkley today officiated at NYU’s 188th Commencement at Yankee Stadium. Some 19,000 students receiving undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and more than 32,000 family, friends, alumni, faculty, and other NYU community members attended the morning ceremony.

Taylor Swift— one of the most celebrated artists of her generation and the only female artist in history to win the music industry’s highest honor, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, three times— received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa. She delivered remarks on behalf of the honorary degree recipients.

“I really can’t complain about not having a normal college experience to you because you went to NYU during a global pandemic, being essentially locked into your dorms or having to do classes over Zoom,” Swift said. “I imagine the idea of a normal college experience was all you wanted, too. But in this case, you and I both learned that you don’t always get all the things in the bag that you selected from the menu in the delivery service that is life. You get what you get. And as I would like to say to you, you should be very proud of what you’ve done with it.”

President Hamilton said to the graduates, “During your time here, you explored new ideas in your classrooms and seminars. You broke new ground in your studies and research. You devised new theories and hypotheses in your labs. You explored new interpretations of foundational works. You crafted new stories through fresh points of views on the page, the stage or the screen. You came up with new ways to solve problems in your start-ups. You met people different from yourself, discovered new activities, and explored differing, often opposing perspectives.

“In addition to your tremendous accomplishments as students, you gave your all – inside and outside of the classroom.”

This year’s other recipients of honorary doctorates were:

  • Susan Hockfield—President Emerita (and the first female president) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor of Neuroscience; she received a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa.
  • Félix V. Matos Rodríguez—Chancellor of the City University of New York and the first Latino to lead the nation’s largest urban public university; he received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa.

The student speaker at the 2022 Commencement Exercises was Rodney D. Anderson, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Tisch School of the Arts.

“Graduating can feel like the most successful but also terrifying moment of your life,” Anderson said. “But you have to remember that you have found a village within NYU that will not let you fail. Before I leave, I want you to take one final look around you. Witness the many different journeys that all of us have experienced within these last four years. That you and I, my village, the class of 2022—we made it.”

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—Niyati Parekh, professor of Public Health Nutrition at the School of Global Public Health—to the youngest undergraduate degree recipient in the Class of 2022—Evelyn Hsin-I Tsai, a 19-year-old who received a BS from the School of Professional Studies.

In honor of the NYU graduates, New York City’s Empire State Building was illuminated in violet on the eve of commencement, May 17.

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