On Tuesday, December 12, students, faculty, alumni, friends, and family gathered at Faculty House to celebrate the accomplishments of 95 students who will graduate from the School of General Studies this February. Dean Peter J. Awn opened the ceremony by welcoming the attendees and encouraging the graduates to stay engaged with the School.
“Thank you for what you have contributed to the Columbia community. I fervently hope you will continue to do that as alumni. Stay involved and stay engaged with your fellow Columbia alumni, but just as importantly, with the current student community. It means an enormous amount to know that people who have been through things similar to themselves have gone on to live fulfilling lives,” Awn said.
This February’s graduates majored in diverse subjects including biological sciences, creative writing, economics, political science, human rights, Hispanic studies, and many more. Eleven were inducted into the GS Honor Society.
Senior Class President Roya Hegdahl followed Awn’s welcome, again stressing the importance of staying involved with the Columbia community after graduation, before introducing Professor Lisa Rosen-Metsch, incoming dean of the School and an alumna of the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program between the School of General Studies and List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rosen-Metsch expressed her excitement to begin her tenure as dean in January, and spoke to the many qualities she believes make GS students unique and crucial members of the undergraduate Columbia community.
“GS students enrich the Columbia curriculum just by who we are and what we bring to the table. We are military veterans, we are dancers in the ballet, we are chefs, international students, new Americans, actors, and students completing two degrees. In short, when I look around this room, we are simply fabulous, and I have to say that diversity is a key feature of GS. I know that you will always carry this incredible Columbia education with you. I can speak from experience to say that my degree has served me well,” Rosen-Metsch said.
The ceremony was concluded by Dean of Students Tom Harford, who harkened back to Orientation, reminding graduates of how far they have come since then, and reminding them that they will always be a part of the community.
“You’re GS people—you were part of this community before you got here, you just didn’t know it. It’s your unique background that led you to us, and it’s your unique background that means you’re a GSer for life, and you’re part of a community that you can never leave, because it’s in your core. Stay scrappy, stay unique, stay intelligent, and keep your GS spirit. Congratulations to you all,” Harford said.