Andrew Hamilton at Commencement 2020
Hello. I’m Andrew Hamilton, president of NYU. And I am delighted to say a few words to the outstanding NYU Shanghai Class of 2020.
But before I do, I want to say thank you to someone who will leave his role at NYU Shanghai in a few days’ time, Chancellor Yu Lizhong. On behalf of all of NYU, I want to thank you, Chancellor Yu, for your vision, your dedication, and your hard work in making NYU Shanghai the great institutionthatit is today. When the history books on NYU Shanghai are written, you, Chancellor Yu,will be seen as one of the founding architects of this academic expression of friendship and collaboration between NYU and ECNU, between Shanghai and New York, and between the USA and China. Thank you!
Now back to you, Class of 2020. I know that this is not the way we hoped to celebrate this important milestone in your lives. But although our format today is virtual, our pride in you could not be more real.
The pandemic in no way diminishes your spectacular achievements. Each one of you has completed a rigorous global liberal arts curriculum taught by world-class faculty.
And each one of you has met the challenges of this past semester with forbearance and creativity. You were the first affected by the virus, and you helped set the standard for how we could get through it together.
Whether you have stayed on campus or returned home, you’ve sustained the ties that connect you and the momentum of achievement even while physically separated. I suspect mine were not the only eyes that misted up watching your virtual choir rendition of “We Are Not Strangers.”
I have also been proud to see NYU Shanghai contribute to the worldwide fight against the pandemic, whether through faculty research or by donating thousands of masks to NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
Class of 2020, it may feel ironic to be graduating from a thoroughly, devotedly global university at a time when many of us have been forced to retreat behind borders.
But if anything will help the world heal and move forward, it is collective, cooperative, global action. Action from engaged citizens with a shared purpose and the capacity to build bridges between different groups of people.
And that is exactly what you offer the world. The same qualities that led you to NYU Shanghai, the same skills that you developed here, will help you make a lasting difference as graduates.
To the Class of 2020, know that all of us at NYU are proud of you. My very, very best wishes to you all, and congratulations!