Chancellor Walcott, Trustees Connie Silver and Phyllis Barasch, Executive Vice Provost Mills, faculty, staff, family members, friends, and graduates, welcome to the Silver School of Social Work's 2012 Convocation, the 52nd graduating class of our proud School.
Graduates, you are an amazing group.
PhD graduates, you are our largest graduating class ever (25)! You successfully planned, implemented, and defended your dissertation. You became a scholar and a leader in the field.
MSW students, you come from over 33 states and six different countries: from Bronx, NY to Des Moines, IA - and from Istanbul, Turkey to Ganzhou, China. 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 68. You represent many ethnic and racial groups. Forty percent of you are changing careers - having been nurses, teachers, financial analysts, lawyers, performing artists, and more! 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, Egypt, South Africa, Palestine, 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 every walk 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.
- 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 2012.