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“Say yes!” City College of New York President Lisa S. Coico said in her charge to members of CCNY’s Class of 2012 at The College’s 166th Commencement June 1.
“This is my advice to you… Say Yes!” she told the graduates. “Say yes – I will try that, even though it is entirely out of my comfort zone. Yes – this may not be my dream job, but I will start here – and learn everything that I can – so I can get there.”
President Coico advised students the next few months and years of their lives would be full of surprises including unexpected opportunities and challenges, unanticipated reversals and unimaginably lucky breaks. “You will be the lead actor in the play about your own life that is not yet written,” she added. “This is your life! Each of you by now can determine by the choices you make where you go.”
In addition, she congratulated the graduates for having “succeeded at one of the greatest universities in the world.” Having studied with people from more than 150 different cultures and countries makes members of the Class of 2012 “better global citizens than almost anybody else graduating on the face on this planet today,” President Coico said.
Ray Suarez Inspires Class of 2012
Looking distinctly professorial in dark cap and gown and beard, esteemed television journalist and keynote speaker Ray Suarez told CCNY’s Class of 2012 that they’d joined an exclusive group of Americans.
“Only 30% of American adults have a four-year degree,” the PBS NewsHour senior correspondent and honorary degree recipient reminded the 3,563 graduates. “For black Americans, that figure is only 17%, for Latinos, only 10%. You are now in select company.”
And even though the job market is tight and times hard, Mr. Suarez urged the graduates not to shirk because better times lay ahead.
“I wish I could tell you this is a great time to be starting out, even with your new degrees,” he said. “I don’t envy you heading out there while good jobs are tough to come by, when the statistics tell us that many of you just entering the workforce now will end up taking jobs that don’t even require a college education.”
Still, what their new degrees have done is given them a little more control over the rest of their lives and put rudders on their boats.
“This country needs your energy, your intelligence, your curiosity. You’re equipped to supply all those things,” the Brooklyn native told the graduates.
“We’ve got a country to rebuild, and we can’t wait another minute to get started,” he added wishing his colorful audience good luck.
Mr. Suarez received the honorary degree doctor of humane letters from CCNY President Lisa S. Coico.
Lauding CCNY, he said 165 years later it still represents what was once a revolutionary idea that regular people could get a college education.