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


Good morning. 

My name is Mark Goodman and it is my privilege to serve as the Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.  For a second year, we are faced with the need to hold these proceedings virtually, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Class of 2021 is graduating and we are coming together from all over the world in the midst of what is unfortunately an obstacle to celebrate this year’s graduates. Wherever you are watching from today, I want to welcome President Judd, Provost Singh, members of the faculty and staff, parents, friends, and, most of all, the members of the class of 2021—all of whom are with us today 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 growing and learning at a college that places such a high premium on practices and values that will stay with you for the rest of your lives: intellectual inspiration and creativity; the power of close collaboration with talented and highly committed teachers and peers who share a passion for engaging and addressing complex questions; the inherent satisfaction of learning and making connections across disciplines; and the value—in the world beyond Sarah Lawrence—of having been pushed while you were here to generate your own ideas and to develop the skills and self-confidence to present and defend those ideas in class and in writing (plenty of writing) to your professors and classmates.

Thirty-eight years ago, I had the good fortune to graduate from Sarah Lawrence, and I can tell you that over the many years since then, I have—in my professional and personal lives—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 commencement speaker, Congressman Jamaal Bowman, a person who has spent much of his professional life focused on and committed to something we can all agree on: the value and centrality of education, including, importantly, the education of middle schoolers to unlocking one’s full potential and creating a fair and productive society. In his relatively short political career, Congressman Bowman has identified political priorities that go to the core of who we are and who we want to be as a nation:  fighting economic inequality, tackling the climate crisis, and insisting that we confront head on the crisis of racial inequality in our country.  Congressman Bowman is a great example for all of our graduates of the power of ideas and the difference one person can make over the course of a career.

Let me close by observing that gratitude is one of life’s most important qualities, and days like today give us a special opportunity to feel and express gratitude. I want to give a special thanks to all of the families and friends—parents, grandparents, and others—who have provided many years of support and made all manner of sacrifices to make this day possible. As we celebrate the accomplishments of today’s graduating students, we acknowledge all who made the journey possible.

To the Class of 2021, congratulations on behalf of the College’s trustees. Go forward, bring change to the world, and be immensely proud of what you have accomplished during your years at Sarah Lawrence—a special place I hope you will continue to hold dear in your hearts.

Thank you and good luck.

Remarks as prepared for delivery