Greetings from the Graduate Student Association

Sidney Wegener MA ’21, President, Graduate Student Association

Hello everyone, thank you for virtually being here today. My name is Sidney Wegener, I am the current president of the Graduate Student Association and am in the Women’s History Program. I am honored to have this opportunity to recognize and appreciate all of the hard work that our graduates have put into their studies, communities, and selves during their time at Sarah Lawrence. To our graduates, thank you for continuing to foster a supportive community and for passing on program traditions. Whether it’s the Human Genetics survival guide or dinner nights with the Dance program, we have learned so much from all of you who are now graduating. You have spent hours planning and organizing social events to build camaraderie among those in your program. You have stressed over exams and performances all while taking notes on how to succeed and passing them on to us. You have helped with essays, employment, and extracurriculars while attending to your own internships, conferences, and performances. We have been inspired by your ideas, initiative, integrity, and kindness and will carry your SLC spirit with us as we continue our educational journey. Congratulations to the class of 2020!

Hannah McCandless MA ’20, Outgoing President, Graduate Student Association

Hello fellow graduates, faculty, family, and friends. Thank you for joining your graduate as we virtually gather to celebrate a tremendous amount of hard work. My name is Hannah McCandless. I am the former president of the Graduate Student Association and am graduating from the Women’s History program.

To prepare for this speech, I thought back to when my own mother graduated with her master’s degree while I was an undergrad. I was unable to fully grasp how hard she had to work. From the outside looking in, I couldn’t fathom what she had to do in order to finish her degree, all while working, raising children, caring for her own parents, and maintaining friendships and familial relationships. I… I think I get it now. Or at least for the most part. I don’t have kids, but I know several people graduating today do. And several others are working full time. And others are caring for their parents. Among the graduates today are people who have lost loved ones, had major career changes, experienced extreme illnesses, and people who moved across the country and world to be here, all while carrying a deep passion for the work they have produced.

I’ve noticed that when you are surrounded by other academics, it is easy to forget how uncommonly difficult it is to earn a Master’s Degree. And yet we did it, all while facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, in order to graduate today. And so whatever you were facing while you worked through this degree, be proud of your peers, be thankful for this institution, and be proud of your hard work.

Thank you.

Remarks as prepared for delivery