NYU Alumni & Friends Connect

August 15, 2019

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the class of 1969. Members of this graduating class now enter the Perstare Society, the NYU alumni group for those who have graduated over 50 years ago. NYU’s motto, perstare et praestare means “to preserve and excel” in Latin.

To celebrate this occasion, Cynthia Lynch-Shor Church (ARTS ‘69, STEINHARDT ‘07) and Norris L. Larrymore, PhD (TANDON ‘69) sat down with us to describe their experiences at NYU when they were students in the late 1960s and offer advice for recent graduates.

Cynthia Lynch-Shor Church (ARTS ‘69, STEINHARDT ‘07)

Cynthia Lynch-Shor Church (ARTS ‘69, STEINHARDT ‘07)

How did you choose NYU?
I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, but I grew up visiting my grandmother in Astoria every summer. Naturally, there was nowhere else I wanted to go to college but New York!

What did you study?
I gravitated towards English literature as a major with a minor in psychology. I discovered the psychology courses offered new perspectives that helped me understand and interpret the stories we read in English courses.

What did you like most about the Heights Campus in the late 1960s?
I loved the architecture. The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is a breath-taking colonnade in its design on the hillside overlooking the Hudson River. The Gould Library has an iconic dome and centers the campus with majesty. The campus was a temple of learning in a multitude of aspects.

What advice do you have for students who will be graduating this year?
It may sound like a cliché, but my advice is to “do what you love.” Find a niche that intrigues you, that challenges you, that enables you to make a contribution. Make yourself happy by making the world happier for others. The rewards can be intellectual, social, or financial – it’s all good.

How did NYU shape your career?
My major in English at NYU grounded me in my future career as a writer, an NYU instructor and Executive Director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. But equally important was the training I got to challenge and question my long-held beliefs. The perspectives at NYU were new and challenging – and so liberating!

Are you still involved with NYU?
Since I graduated I’ve been donating to scholarships at NYU. Without the scholarship I received as a student, I never would have been able to attend NYU. I’ve also been active with the Alumni Association. I’m currently working with the CAS Alumni Association to host an NYU event at the Whitman Birthplace for our Long Island alumni. I’m happy to still be involved with the university and I invite all alumni who read this to get involved also!

Norris L. Larrymore, PhD (TANDON ‘69)

Norris L. Larrymore (TANDON ‘69)

How did you choose NYU?
I enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in September 1964. I lived in Brooklyn and I knew I wanted to study electrical engineering. At the time, Brooklyn Poly was ranked in the top ten in that discipline.

What did you like most about the campus in the late 1960s?
I was in Brooklyn. Back then the area was a bit rough, but it was home for me. The institute only had one or two buildings, it was all contained within one city block. These days there is the Metro Tech center (in Brooklyn) so it’s grown.

What advice do you have for students who will be graduating this year?
Here are two pieces of advice: you fail when you do not set your standards high enough and quality always finds a buyer. Failure has an importance. It means that you’re trying something different, something new. You have to expect some failure or rejection in your life so that you can learn from it. When I say that quality finds a buyer, I mean that high-value products or services will always be in demand. Excellence is important in everything one does or produces. People value that.

How did NYU shape your career?
I learned the importance of high expectations. At the time, it was quite rigorous and of course, the school still is. There were 400 students in my freshman class, but only 200 in my graduating class. After graduation, you learn the importance of all the challenges you faced in college. It prepares you for life and a career. You may forget the theorems, classes, or lectures, but you always remember how to be rigorous with your work.

What is your favorite part of the NYU campus?
The Brooklyn and the engineering campus school will always be my home.

Are you still involved with NYU?
For the last five years, I have taught as an adjunct professor at the Tandon School of Engineering. It’s great to be able to maintain that connection to my alma mater.

What sets NYU apart from other universities?
There is a place at NYU for everyone who is looking to do something special with their life.