Mark P. Goodman '83: Chair of the Board of Trustees

Mark Goodman '83Welcome, welcome to the graduating class of 2017, to their parents, friends, and relatives and to honored guests who have joined us on this beautiful (moist) spring day to celebrate one of life’s greatest milestones.

I bring greetings from the Board of Trustees to each of the graduates who will be receiving the degrees being awarded today. We wish each of you a long, productive and gratifying life that builds on your experience of learning at the most unique and one of the most intellectually robust colleges in the country today.

Thirty-four years ago, I sat exactly where you are sitting today, and I can tell you that over the many years since then, I have—in my professional life and my personal life—appreciated increasingly with each passing year the special gift of my Sarah Lawrence education.

I also bring a special thanks from the Board to our distinguished speaker, J.J. Abrams.

J.J., your career as a director, producer, screenwriter, composer and business person is a spectacular example of (i) the value of a Sarah Lawrence education, (ii) the creativity and self-confidence that are inculcated on this campus, and (iii) the opportunities open to the graduates before us today. We thank you for your example and for your presence here today.

I would like to close by reminding everyone that this will be Karen’s last graduation as our President. She has been a wonderful and highly successful leader of the College—through times of extraordinary economic turbulence—and so it is my privilege to announce to you—and to her—that the Board has voted to confer upon her the Title of President Emerita.

I do not have the time to read the entire Resolution passed by the Board, but I will point out that it recites many of Karen’s accomplishments, including (i) doubling financial aid to our students, (ii) increasing undergraduate applications to the highest number in the College’s history, while increasing diversity and geographic reach, (iii) bringing NCAA Division III sports to the College, (iv) raising a record $135 million to date toward a Campaign goal of $200 million, which has been used to increase the number of endowed faculty chairs and faculty research support, and (v) playing the key role in persuading alumna Barbara Walters to provide the key support for the building of a new, state-of-the-art campus center, the construction of which will begin later this year. Karen, before I sit down, I would ask you to come up here so that I can present a framed copy of the Resolution to you.

Again, to the graduates and your families and friends, Congratulations on behalf of the College’s trustees, and good luck.

Thank you.