Stephanie Cooper '65 MFA '76:
President, Alumni Association

Stephanie CooperClass of 2009, on behalf of the Sarah Lawrence College Alumni/ae Association I bring you our warm congratulations for all the good work you’ve done to reach this fine day. I take great pleasure in welcoming you to our Association—a congregation of poets, artists, scientists, lawyers, teachers, actors, doctors, sculptors, judges, mathematicians, historians, a physicist dancer whom I met at a Reunion not long ago and a singular Presidential Chief of Staff with balletic origins.

In a matter of mere moments you will become alumnae/i; you will join the 15,979 alumnae/i of this remarkable institution, who, because of the 450 of you, will soon number 16,429.

I know I needn’t remind you that you are heirs to a strong tradition of individualism, with a disinclination to join any group just for the sake of joining. Nonetheless, we individuals are a community, a community of shared values and the high ideals of the importance of questioning and learning; the importance of forming an opinion and expressing it fully and clearly; the importance of a deep respect for the individual and the uniqueness of each individual and at the same time the importance of community

Now it’s time for learning new skills as you move from this lovely nest into the communities of the wider world. As President of the Alumnae/i Association, it is my hope today that along with your diplomas and your memories, you take your sense of community—and especially this community—with you into your exciting future. As for new skills, I would particularly like you to become skilled alumnae/i. How to do that?

First, please use the Alumnae/i Association as a resource—call the Career Office to find a mentor, a job, an internship; click your mouse and join our online community; attend alumnae/i events—not only in New York City but across the country; fill the alumnae/i magazine postcard with news of your life or just your passing thoughts. In your brave new world as graduates, think of the online community as a meeting place where you connect and reconnect with old friends.

I’m President of the Alumnae/i Association because I have a passion for this place. It inspires passion in all of us. It has shaped who we are and who we continue to become.

There’s an enduring attitude here that as alumnae/i we all share. As a group and as individuals, we have a lot of attitude. We recognize it in fellow alumni/ae, even from eras distant from our own. We regularly reconvene, and when we do, we give back—by participation in reunions, in events around the country and around the world, by all kinds of contributions. In these challenging economic times giving back has a particular urgency. In this way we not only capture the pleasure of shared memories, but we gain the satisfaction of ensuring that this College, so unique throughout its history and to this very day, can endure.

So, again, I bring you the warmest congratulations from all the alumnae/i whose ranks you now join; I bring you our deepest wishes for your continued growth and transformation, for your satisfaction, for your success, however you choose to define it. We wish you great adventures. We know that you will keep the College with you wherever you go and that you will stay connected in word, in deed and in your sense that young as this place is, it is a potent legacy for all of us. Happy, happy graduation to you all!