Welcome Remarks from Dean Lynn Videka

Class of 2014 Convocation

Professor Anastas, Trustee Connie Silver, Executive Vice President Dorph, faculty, staff, family members, friends, and graduates, welcome to the Silver School of Social Work's 2014 Convocation, the 54th graduating class of our proud School, 589 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 to be a leader in with the social work profession.

MSW students, you come from over 31 different states and 21 different countries from Arizona to Wisconsin - and from Canada to Venezuela. Your class represents an ideal of the School, lifelong learning. Some of you are 30 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. Many of you have already demonstrated your commitment to service to humanity through your previous experience in the Peace Corps, Teach for America, 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 Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture. 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 500 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.
  • You experienced how creating a community of students and scholars was vital to support your learning, your work with clients, and your growth as a professional social worker.

Graduates, guests, and fellow faculty, please join me in recognizing the accomplishments of the Class of 2014.

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