Valedictorian & Salutatorian

Lola and My, 2016 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

As you stand on the verge of your post-college life, I invite you to look back at all that you have accomplished in the past four years. For some of you, that includes mastering the language spoken in a new country or traveling to dozens of the cities on your bucket list. For others, that includes expanding your horizons with a second major or multiple minors, or building community by leading an NYU club or engaging in community service in another culture. Still more of you will count among your achievements internships at important organizations both in New York and around the world. And for all of you, your thesis research marked your transition from student to scholar. As you explored remote villages of South America and studied the subcultures of Europe, as you fostered awareness about the global refugee crisis and cataloged the stories of migrants, as you examined cultural and economic trends in Asia, you have already made a profound impact on our world. I know that as you leave NYU you will take this experience with you and you will continue to promote change, to think creatively, and to embrace new opportunities.

Congratulations, Class of 2016!

“We learned how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.” – Catalina Escalona, Valedictorian, GLS Class of 2015

As you, the 2015 graduates of Global Liberal Studies, begin your first jobs, enroll in graduate school, and become NYU alumni instead of NYU students, I encourage you to remember all that you celebrated during this week of graduation.

In Global Liberal Studies, not only have you sharpened your problem-solving skills, built a strong foundation in world cultures, and pursued double majors, internships, and foreign language proficiency — you also have developed the rare ability to thrive amidst uncertainty.

You proved this as first-year students, enrolling in GLS during the program’s infancy. You proved it again when you dispersed throughout NYU’s global network for your junior year abroad, facing situations that challenged your foreign language skills, sense of boundaries, and understanding of your place in the world. With your senior theses, you proved it once again by pioneering original research on topics that you identified as most compelling.

Hold tight to your sense of adventure, your passion for charting new territory, and your confidence in doing so as you take the next steps toward your future. In our rapidly changing world, you can expect the unexpected — and as a GLS graduate, know that you are ready to meet it head on.