Published May 18, 2020
Greetings from the University at Buffalo!
To our guests joining us from points across the region, the state, the nation and the world—thank you for coming together to celebrate UB’s remarkable Class of 2020.
Today marks our one-hundred-and-seventy-fourth commencement exercises. It also marks our first virtual commencement ceremony. Although we have never celebrated our graduates in this manner before, the essence of UB’s commencement tradition remains fundamentally unchanged.
Unchanged, thanks to the steadfast commitment of our students to uphold UB’s mission and vision of excellence--from the 17 physicians who comprised UB’s first graduating class of 1847 to you: our fiercely determined, and incredibly accomplished, Class of 2020.
As you celebrate this milestone today, let me be among the first to congratulate you on your tremendous achievements. During your time at UB, you have grounded yourself in your discipline.
At the same time, you have built a broad base of knowledge. You have toiled in the classroom, in the laboratory, in the studio, in the clinic. You have shared your diversity of perspectives. To age-old problems, you have proposed fresh, contemporary solutions.
These actions have not only profoundly enriched our university community. They have also helped inform who you are—as neighbors, colleagues, professionals and citizens.
In turn, if we have done our job, you are graduating from UB with not only a wealth of disciplinary expertise, but a deep appreciation for the role and value of public service.
Education is not meant for selfish gain. It is intended for the greater good. Indeed, this is a hallmark of a University at Buffalo education: that you share your enlightened viewpoint with the world, for the betterment of the world.
In trying times such as these, our global society needs your engagement and your inclusive world-view more than ever. The resilience and adaptability you have demonstrated during this crisis will serve you exceedingly well as future leaders of our complex world.
That said, If I may offer a bit of advice, let it be this: Consider the totality of your UB experience. Your professional development, and your personal transformation. The connections you have made, and will cherish, throughout your life. Your teachers, your mentors, your peers—all of us in your UB family—are so proud of you.
Your UB education has prepared you for a moment such as this. In times of great flux, as in times of great stability, you are poised to navigate, lead, and make a positive impact on the communities we serve—near and far.
As I look to the horizon, I see a bright future. And I see you at the center.
Class of 2020, you inspire us all.
I recognize you, I celebrate you, and I applaud you.
You will always hold a special place in our university community.
Once again, congratulations, Class of 2020—and all my best wishes for the journey ahead!