Claire Rodman '86:
President, Alumni Association Board

Hello! I’m Claire Rodman, Class of ’86, and as president, I am here to welcome you into the Sarah Lawrence Alumni Association! 

You should be proud of all you have accomplished while you were here, and despite everything happening on the planet, we are excited for whatever is next for you. You are not the first class to have your spring semester disrupted; your sister class of 1970 had their spring semester dislocated by campus closures in the wake of the Kent State shooting. Now they have déjà vu as your commencement and their 50th reunion are both postponed. The first cohort of graduates faced the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression. In my own senior year, there was Challenger, Chernobyl, and a booming stock market that had a big, fast crash.

So, as Sarah Lawrence alums, you are joining a community of people who have learned to become agile and resilient in uncertain times. Reach out to us for perspective, support, and mentoring. Just remember: You will be an alum for longer than you were a student, and, that network, your Sarah Lawrence family, is here to support you in all the endeavors you will pursue in your life. If you’re a typical Laurentian, there will be about 20 of these. Some will be wonderful, and some won’t be wonderful, but you’ll learn from all them. Even in this state of the world, you will be able to move ahead, and each path you explore will lead to relationships and achievements you can’t even imagine now.

I encourage you to stay in touch with each other, too. Not only are you and your classmates now officially a part of each other’s network, you will be the people who will best understand each other’s achievements as you continue forward in life, because you have been through challenges and triumphs together, like any tight knit family. In particular, comparable to other classes who have been together during high stress times as these, your cohort understands the particular challenges that only you face.

Since you’re on the same class year cycle, at a reunion sometime you might meet this Class of 1970 alum who went on to an incomparable career as a photojournalist focusing on human rights issues after her disrupted senior year, Susan Meiselas, who said:

“We know photographers make frames, but we deeply believe they can also create frameworks.”

The skills of research, analysis, and critical thinking you have learned at Sarah Lawrence will provide the foundation for your frameworks , the projects and relationships you will develop from the creativity and curiosity that you have also fostered here. And you will find your Sarah Lawrence family us on all the paths you travel, ready with maps and compasses. Go forth and create.  Congratulations, and welcome to the Sarah Lawrence alumni community!

Remarks as prepared for delivery