Dr. Kim Hartswick’s Remarks to the Graduates, Commencement 2012

The degrees that will be officially conferred upon you today are from the largest public urban university in the United States, with 25 institutions, over 6,500 full-time faculty members and over 60,000 courses offered each year to more than one quarter of a million degree seeking students.  CUNY Baccalaureate may, therefore, represent only about .2 per cent of all these students at CUNY, but what we lack in numbers is superseded by the highest graduation rate, the highest percentage of students continuing into graduate schools, a 60% rate of students graduating with honors and, I would hazard to propose, the highest cumulative grade point average of any graduating class in the country.

Your success and achievements in creating an individualized course of study, working with outstanding teachers and mentors and taking courses throughout a unique system of academic institutions that are within commuter distance from each other could only have been achieved at the City University of New York.

There is no other place in the country (and perhaps the world) that can offer students such a variety of academic opportunities and it is only through CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies where students can take full advantage of these opportunities.  Your degrees, therefore, represent not only your home colleges, where I know most of you have strong ties, but also the entire City University of New York, which has been your academic campus.

You are truly the best examples of what public education is all about. Your academic achievements can be held equal to any other colleges or universities in the country and at a cost, may I add, that is 1/10 of private institutions.

Two very recent examples (and I will be giving you more later in the program) that I am excited to announce today are George Vourderis, who has just been notified that he has been chosen as a Fulbright Fellow to South Korea; and Kayhan Irani, a recent graduate, who has received a Fulbright Scholars Fellowship to conduct research in India.  George and Kayhan are our 8th and 9th Fulbrights and we expect to be increasing these numbers next year.

I feel that the past 41 years of the existence of CUNY Baccalaureate has been only a preliminary and that we stand at the beginning of a new and exciting time that will open these extraordinary academic opportunities, of which you have been fortunate to take advantage, to even more remarkable students.  As you will be now among more than 7,000 CUNY Baccalaureate alumni we hope that you will be part of our journey, which means keeping in touch with us.  We truly love hearing from all of you.

–Dr. Kim J. Hartswick, Academic Director, CUNY Baccalaureate