Baruch Inducts Class of 2008
at Annual Convocation Ceremonies

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  Video: President Waldron speaks to the freshman class
              Lewis Lapham's Keynote Address


Provost and Senior Vice President David Dannenbring stood before Baruch's Class of 2008 at the annual Convocation ceremonies in Mason Hall on August 26, greeted them and told them in no uncertain terms that they are the best and the brightest freshman class in Baruch's history.

As if that weren't good news enough, senior Sime Marnika, USG president and co-captain of Baruch's basketball team, pointed out that a few of the freshman filling Mason Hall were likely sitting in the same room as their future husbands or wives.

You laugh, said Dannenbring when he returned to the podium to introduce keynote speaker Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's Magazine. But I just want to warn you there is a plaque not far from here, commemorating this building as the place where two of our alumni met and got engaged.

In other words, for the class of 2008, the future is bright.

The freshmen also heard from President Kathleen Waldron, who told them that she arrived on campus only a few weeks before them. Like you, I'm enthusiastic and I'm also a little nervous too, she said. I miss old friends and I'm looking forward to all the new ones I'm going to make, just as many of you are. Waldron told of one new student she'd encountered in the labyrinthine hallways of the Newman Vertical Campus earlier in the day, looking for a classroom. We looked for it together, and neither of us could find it, she told the audience of 1200. So if you're lost for the next couple of weeks, I'm the last person you should ask for directions.

This year's freshman text, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich, chronicles the authors time working minimum-wage and near minimum-wage jobs in order to discover what strategies America's working poor find to survive.

Lapham, as editor of Harper's Magazine, assigned the story to Ehrenreich that led to two long articles in the magazine and later to the writing of the book. One of the things we both discovered, he said, is that there is no such thing as unskilled labor.' Barbara came away from the experience full of respect for the skills people have to have to perform even the most seemingly menial job.

The long time editor of one of Americas oldest general interest magazines also told the freshman that the task of learning takes an entire lifetime, and quoted from T.H. White's Once and Future King , in which Merlin tells the young Arthur, before he has become king, that The best thing for being sad is to learn something. Learn why the world wags, and what wags it.