[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: Leading the procession is the University Marshal, Professor Poppy McLeod. Following the University March is the banner for the class of 2021. The class here banner-bearers are Rebecca Fu and Jed Kaiser, class officers. The class marshals are Jojo Cheng and Theresa Oduof.
First to arrive behind the glass banner are the candidates of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business comprised of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the School of Hotel Administration. The candidates are led by Dean Andrew Karolyi.
The college banner-bearers are Rui Bai and Alyssa Gallina. Next the MBA and MPS degree candidates from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management led by Dean Mark Nelson. The college banner-bearers are Jefferson Betancourt and Joyelle Fleming. The degree marshals are Esha Vaish and Marc Vainrib, this symbol banner-bearer is Thomas Cunningham.
Once again the MBA and MPS degree candidates from the Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Now entering the stadium are the first of a college degree candidates, the Charles H. Tyson School of Applied Economics and Management is led by Dean Edward McLaughlin and college banner-bearers Roger Hyman and Ruth Park. The degree marshals are Frank Lin and Jane Sniffin. The symbol banner bearer is Christopher Burpee.
Once again, the degree candidates from the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
Next, the School of Hotel Administration led into the stadium Dean Kate Walsh and college banner-bearers Zhao Wei and Michael Quach. Degree marshals are Sumay Bansal and Carol Wang. The symbol banner-bearer is Angad Jaspal.
Degree candidates from the Cornell Law School attended a convocation event last week. We wish them luck as they study for their bar examinations. The Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Cornell Medical College in New York City are participating in separate ceremonies. Included among the graduates who will be conferred today are those who carried out their studies at Cornell Tech in New York City.
Once again, the degree candidates from the School of Hotel Administration.
Now entering the stadium led by Dean Benjamin Houlton are candidates of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. College banner-bearers are Robert Bossong and Christina Gasko. Degree marshals are Katherine Heath and Angela Shen. The symbol banner-bearer is Ava McDonough.
Give my regards to Davy. Remember me to Tee Fee Crane. Tell all the pikers on the hill that I'll be back again. Tell them just how I busted lapping up the high, high ball. We'll all have drinks at Theodore Zincks when I get back next fall.
[MUSIC PLAYING- "GIVE MY REGARD TO DAVY"]
Once again, the degree candidates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Now joining the procession are members of the university faculty led by the dean of the university faculty Charles Van Leon.
At this time, we acknowledge and thank the Cornell University faculty.
Now joining the procession, the university leadership led by provost Michael Kotlikoff and the trustees of the university led by chairman Robert S. Harrison.
At this time, the university marshal professor Poppy McLeod will escort the mace-bearer, Professor Bruce Lewenstein, and Cornell University's president, Martha E. Pollack to their places on the platform.
Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogoho:no, the Cayuga Nation. The Gayogoho:no are members of the Haudenosaune Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogoho.no dispossession and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogoho:no people, past and present to these lands and waters.
PROFESSOR POPPY MCLEOD: President Pollack, candidates for degrees from Cornell University have gathered for the conferral of degrees and to celebrate the commencement of the 153rd graduating class of Cornell University.
Members of the Board of Trustees, the faculty, administrative staff, degree candidates, and guests are in their places. The assembly is hereby called to order. Please rise and join us on the singing of the star-spangled banner.
(SINGING) Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight. For the ramparts we watched were so-called gallantly streaming.
And the rockets read glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. For the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Everyone, please be seated. It is my privilege to introduce Michael Kotlikoff, University Provost.
MICHAEL I. KOTLIKOFF: Welcome parents, family, friends, and supporters, and mostly, welcome to the accomplished members of the classes of 2021
Graduates, this has been an extraordinary career, and you have distinguished yourselves by demonstrating your resilience and your community spirit as well as advancing your scholarship. On behalf of the faculty of Cornell University, on behalf of the entire university, I want to congratulate you for your actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you. You have set the standard for the nation.
Cornellians, I wish you success, and look forward to hearing of your future achievements. And now it is my honor to introduce Cornell's 14th president, professor of computer science, information science, and linguistics, Martha E. Pollack.
MARTHA E. POLLACK: So class of 2021, how's everybody feeling? Great. And it's not raining. It's a little cloudy, but I got to tell you I have been to many, many graduations over my life, and no matter what you might think when you first walk in here. It's always sunny on graduation day. So excuse me while I put on my shades.
Now every time I stand up here in a Cornell cap and gown I tell a new class of graduates how great it is to be here, how happy I am to see them, and how proud I am of everything they have accomplished. But this year being here with you in person, it's better than great. I am really, really, really happy to see you, and saying that doesn't even begin to express how it feels to stand here looking out at the great class of 2021 and at the parents, the family, and the friends who have supported you through so much.
So graduates, before I say anything else, I want you to follow my directions carefully. This is what I want you to do. This is a football stadium, and it's one that hasn't had any noise this year, none at all. So today, we're going to start making up from that.
Here's what I want you to do. Right now stand up. Graduates stand up. Turn around. Face the stands.
If you know where your family and friends are, turn towards them. Otherwise, just turn in the general direction. Now don't do anything else. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait for my instructions.
And if you have family and friends who aren't here yet, don't worry. We're going to get to them in a moment. But right now in just a minute we're going to need everyone's noise. So on the count of three in whatever language you speak at home, whether it's English or Spanish or Yoruba or Hindi or Cayuga or Chinese, whatever language it is, on the count of three in that language I want you to say thank you so loud that they would hear you in the stands even during a tie-breaking touchdown for the Big Red against Harvard. OK, you ready? One. Two. Three.
OK. OK, that was good, but we're not done yet. Now turn around. Don't sit back down. Just turn around. We were really thrilled that this year we were able at the last minute to let people invite two guests, but we know that you have many more family and friends, many more people who you'd like to be here with you at Chillcothe, who are instead cheering from afar.
So what I want you to do next is look over here to the right. You see that. That's Paul. Paul wave, so they see you. OK. Paul. Yes, you can say thank you to Paul in a minute, but Paul is operating camera too. And that's one of the cameras that's bringing the live stream to everyone out there.
Everyone you love, everyone you wish you were here, they're right behind, Paul. So again, on the count of three, we're going to thank them. One. Two. Three.
AUDIENCE: Thank you! [CHEERS]
MARTHA E. POLLACK: OK. Great. You may all be seated. Before we go any further, I do want to pause and take a moment to acknowledge the people who are here with us today only in our hearts, the students whose graduation this would have been and everyone that we've lost over the past year to COVID-19. Thank you.
So I've spent a lot of time over the past few months thinking about what I would say when and sometimes it felt like if we finally got to this moment, when we all finally put on our caps and gowns to celebrate your extraordinary achievements at Cornell and especially your extraordinary achievements over the past year. Because a commencement is a milestone. It marks the moment that you cross between students and alumni, between one phase of your lives and the next. This hour here at Chillcothe is that liminal space.
It's where we stand together on that line between what lies behind and what lies ahead, between the familiar past and the unknown future. This isn't the first time that we've stood there together. 446 days ago I wrote you an email that I never imagined writing. Like all of you, I had followed the news reports as the coronavirus spread through Asia through Europe to the West Coast on to New York City. On the advice of public health experts and epidemiologists, we had already brought home our study abroad students, and we had limited the size of campus gatherings, but we soon came to realize that this would be not enough.
Yet Cornell in its 155 year history through two world wars and civil unrest and, yes, more than one previous pandemic, through all of that Cornell had never closed before. And the decision had in retrospect we now see as inevitable, in that moment, it felt unthinkable. Making that decision, sending that email meant crossing a line that separated the past we knew and the future we had planned for from a present that was changing every hour and a future that had no map.
446 days ago, you opened an email that you never imagined you would receive. You were sitting in Mann Library or the Duffield Atrium. You were getting a snack, maybe you were heading to a study group meeting. You pulled out your phone to check your email, maybe you got a text from a friend, and in that moment, the world stood still.
Campus is shutting down. Classes are closing. They're sending all of us home. It seemed for a moment like it might be the end of everything, but the next moment you looked around and you saw that Cornell was still there and you were to.
You figured out what you needed to do next, what to pack, what to store, where you were going and how to get there. And when you did get there, what you did was finish your semester on Zoom and on campus, by text message, and by FaceTime. Somehow you finished it all. You found new ways to be together, to learn, and to grow.
When you found yourself in an unmapped future, you adapted your course and you adapted it again and again. But every day, you moved forward, and today here you are in caps and gowns at commencement where you were meant to be all along. The world has become a different place since that moment when as the song from Hamilton goes, the world turned upside down.
But if you know of a song, you also know that the world has turned upside down before. Now I very much hope that this is the last time in your lives that your world will be turned upside down by a pandemic, but I can almost promise you that it will be turned upside down by other things. The email will come or the text message or the conversation or the news report that will draw a new line between what was and what will be, a past you knew, and a future without a map. Or you'll face a decision that whatever path you take will change everything, for you, for the people closest to you, or the people that you will be there to lead.
And when that happens the next time your world turns upside down, I want you to remember something. Remember that you have been there before. Remember that you got through it, and remember how you're here today because 446 days for all of them you held each other close even when it was impossible to do so physically.
You held on to the kindness and the support of one another and you kept moving forward. You're here today because of your commitment and hard work and because all of the people, your family, your friends, your chosen family, and your community, your Cornell faculty and the Cornell staff, all of the people who helped keep you going. And you made it to where you are right now, because all of you chose hour after hour, day after day to keep Cornell going.
As hard as it was, you did what you needed to do. You kept your masks on and you kept your distance. You kept outside. You met your friends outside in the Ithaca winter. You met your friends outside in the Ithaca spring, just as cold. You got your vaccines as soon as you. You showed up for your surveillance tests, and some of you spent some time in the Statler.
You can explain that to your parents afterwards. You did your daily check, and you checked in on each other. You chose day after day and hour after hour to put community first. And of all of the countless decisions that have kept Cornell safe and healthy and moving forward, of all of the data and the expertise that went into these last 446 days, your decisions were the ones that mattered most.
Nothing I did in Day Hall decision, no policy, no investment, nothing could have taken the place of a community willing to work together for its shared well-being. Of everything you've learned in your time at Cornell and everything you will take with you from here, that may well be the most important lesson of all, and it's a lesson that in every way is consonant with the ethos and the values of Cornell. A Cornell education has always been designed to do much more than teach its students the knowledge they'll need to succeed in their careers. It's designed to teach you how to live and how to thrive in a changing world.
And today, perhaps more than ever, our changing world demands much more than any specific set of knowledge. It demands the ability to communicate across difference and to appreciate different points of view, the willingness to tackle big thorny problems and find answers to questions that were never in a textbook, to learn not just what's on the next text but to learn how to learn throughout a lifetime as the world and what there is to know about it evolves. The world we live in now is different than it was when you arrived at Cornell, and it will change much more in the years ahead. And the biggest challenges we face now as a society and a planet will demand of you everything you've learned here and especially everything you've learned in this lesson year.
They'll demand not just knowledge, but a commitment to truth, not just science but the ability to listen to others and to communicate what you know. The world that lies ahead will demand of you everything you learned inside the classroom and outside of it, both the expertise you came for but also the creativity and the courage and the ability to work together, skills that you gained along the way. And it will demand of all of us the commitment to do exactly what you've done here at Cornell.
Make the hard decisions that enable all of us to move forward. Make the personal sacrifices that enable your community to thrive, and most of all, be kind. Be kind knowing that doing so could make all the difference in the world to someone else. This year has taught you the hardest, most important thing of all, how to stand back up when the world turns upside down. You do that by reaching out to help each other.
I am so inexpressibly proud of every single one of you, of what you've accomplished here as individuals and together, of the ways you've brought the ethos from the values of Cornell to life, and of the way you've come together to get us here today to this point in Chillicothe. Graduates congratulations. When the pandemic is over come back.
Come back often. Come back to your reunions spend more time with us in Ithaca. I look forward to seeing you. Cornell will always be a part of you just as you the extraordinary class of 2021 will always be a part of Cornell.
PROFESSOR POPPY MCLEOD: We will now proceed to the conferral of degrees. The first group to be presented to the president for conferral of degrees are the candidates for graduate degrees in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
Will the dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Andrew Karolyi, please come forward?
ANDREW KAROLYI: Will the dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Mark Nelson, please come forward? And will the candidates for the degree of Masters of Business Administration and Master of Professional Studies from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, please rise? And degree marshals, please come to the front of the platform.
MARK NELSON: President Pollack, I have the honor to present these extraordinary candidates who have fulfilled the requirements and who are duly recommended by the faculty of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management for the degree of Master of Business Administration and Master of Professional Studies.
Thank you, Dean Nelson. Upon the recommendation of the faculty and by the authority vested in me by the trustees of Cornell University, I hereby confer upon each of you the degrees of Master of Business Administration or Master of Professional Studies with all the rights, privileges, honors, and responsibilities pertaining thereto.
PROFESSOR POPPY MCLEOD: Will the graduates please be seated and the degree marshals return to their seats? Will the two class marshals representing the senior class please come up to the front of the platform? The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is a shared program of the SC Johnson College of Business and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Will the dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Andrew Karolyi, please come forward? Will the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Benjamin Houlton, please come forward and join Dean Karolyi in recognizing the graduates of the Dyson School?
ANDREW KAROLYI: Will the dean of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Edward McLaughlin, please come forward? And will the candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science from the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, please rise? And the degree marshals please come to the front of the platform.
EDWARD MCLAUGHLIN: President Pollack, I have the honor to present these exceptional candidates who have fulfilled the requirements and who are duly recommended by the faculty of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and SC Johnson College of Business for the degree Bachelor of Science.
MARTHA E. POLLACK: Thank you, Dean McLaughlin. Upon the recommendation of the faculty and by the authority vested in me by the trustees of Cornell University, I hereby confer upon each of you the degree of Bachelor of Science with all the rights, privileges, honors, and responsibilities pertaining thereto.
Will the graduates please be seated and the degree marshals return to their seats?
BENJAMIN HOULTON: Will the Dean of the School of Hotel Administration, Kate Walsh, please come forward and will the candidates for the degree of Masters of Management and Hospitality, Master of Professional Studies, and Bachelor of Science from the SC College of Business and the School of Hotel Administration please rise? And the degree marshals please come to the front of the platform.
KATE WALSH: President Pollack, I have the honor of presenting these energetic candidates who are also spectacular and have fulfilled the requirements and who are duly recommended by the faculty of the School of Hotel Administration for the degree of Master of Management and Hospitality or Bachelor of Science and by the faculty of the graduate field of real estate for the degree of Master of Professional Studies.
MARTHA E. POLLACK: Thank you, Dean Walsh. Upon the recommendation of the faculty and by the authority vested in me by the trustees of Cornell University, I hereby confer upon each of the wildly enthusiastic hoteliers their degrees of Master of Management and Hospitality, Master of Professional Studies, and Bachelor of Science with all the rights, privileges, and honors pertaining there to.
PROFESSOR POPPY MCLEOD: Will the graduates please be seated and the degree marshals return to their seats? I call on Kavita Paula, dean of the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science to address Bowers CIS graduates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
KAVITA BALA: On behalf of the faculty of the newly named Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, I congratulate the Bowers's CIS graduates whose degrees are being conferred today by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
PROFESSOR POPPY MCLEOD: Will the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Benjamin Houlton, please come forward? Will the candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences please rise and the degree marshals come to the front of the platform?
BENJAMIN HOULTON: President Pollack, I have the honor of presenting these world leading, light changing, leaving the world a better place than we found it candidates who are duly recommended by the outstanding faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences having fulfilled their requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Science.
MARTHA E. POLLACK: Thank you, Dean Houlton. Upon the recommendation of the faculty, and by the authority vested me in the trustee's of Cornell University, I have the honor to confer upon each of you the degree of Bachelor of Science with all the rights, privileges, honors, and responsibilities pertaining thereto.
PROFESSOR POPPY MCLEOD: Will the graduates please be seated and the degree marshalls return to their seats? Will the assembly please rise and join us in singing of the Cornell Alma Mater?
(SINGING) Far above Cayuga's water with its waves of blue stands our noble Alma Mater glorious to you. Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our Alma Mater, hail, all hail, Cornell!
Far above the busy humming of the bussling town. Reared against the arch of heaven looks she proudly down. Life the chorus, speed it onward loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our Alma Mater, hail, all hail, Cornell.
This concludes the commencement ceremony for these degree candidates of the 153rd third graduating class of Cornell University. We thank you for joining us today and congratulate our new graduates. Please remain standing during the recessional and then exit the crescent as directed by the ushers. Thank you.
[MUSIC PLAYING- "THE CORNELL FIGHT SONG"]
(SINGING) C-O-R-N-E double L, win the game and then ring the bell. What's the big intrigue? We're the best in the ivy league. Score the point that puts us ahead.
Knock 'em dead Big Red. One! Two! Three! Four! Who are we for? Can't you tell? Old Cornell!
[MUSIC PLAYING- "THE CORNELL FIGHT SONG"]
(SINGING) Give my regards to Davy. Remember me to Tee Fee Crane. Tell all the pikers on the hill that I'll be back-- I'll be back again. Tell them of how I busted, lapping up the high, high ball. We'll all have drinks at Theodore Zinck's when I get back next fall.
[MUSIC PLAYING- "GIVE MY REGARDS TO DAVY"]
(SINGING) Oh, I want to go back to the old days, those good old days on the hill. Back to my Cornell, for that's where they all yell Cornell, I yell, Cornell. Cornell! Far above Cayuga's water I hear those chiming bells. Oh, I'm longing and yearning and always returning to my old Cornell.
[MUSIC PLAYING- "MY OLD CORNELL"]
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2021 Commencement for the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, School of Hotel Administration, Charlies H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences