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Baruch College Celebrates Class of 2020 with Virtual Commencement Experience

Baruch College honored the Class of 2020 with a Virtual Commencement Experience on June 8, 2020.

Watch: Virtual Commencement Experience here​.

Baruch College held its 2020 Virtual Commencement Experience on June 8, conferring degrees to 5,357 undergraduate and graduate students from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and the Zicklin School of Business.

The virtual experience went live at 9:30 a.m. with the Class of 2020, families and friends from across New York City, the nation and the world tuning in to the program.

Mitchel B. Wallerstein, PhD, president of Baruch College, presided over the virtual experience, and James McCarthy, PhD, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, served as the master of ceremonies.

During the video, Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, The City University of New York, offered his heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2020, and their families during the video. “This celebration might be virtual, but the milestone it signifies is very real. Nothing can diminish the power of this moment in your lives, and nothing should dampen the pride you feel in getting here,” Chancellor Matos Rodríguez said in his speech.

“The Class of 2020 has demonstrated a resilience and resolve that inspires me,” Matos Rodríguez stated. “You stayed strong and adapted to the circumstances. Midway through your final semester, you made the transition to distance learning. Your time on campus ended abruptly and unexpectedly, but you pulled together, helped each other, and made sacrifices for the greater good. I am incredibly proud of you, and despite the uncertain times ahead, I am as optimistic and excited as ever about the future you will ultimately create for yourselves.”

Class of 2020: “Well-positioned to be great leaders”’

In his remarks, Dr. Wallerstein noted how this day marks an important milestone ending their journey as Baruch students, and marking the completion of “my final semester as president of this great institution.” On July 1, President-designate Dr. S. David Wu will become the eighth president of Baruch College.

Wallerstein spoke about how Baruch is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in the world. By being part of a college that celebrates its diversity, Wallerstein noted that Baruch graduates are “well-positioned to take a leadership role in bringing about a healthier, more equitable and sustainable future.”

Dr. Wallerstein added, “Virtual or not, this ceremony marks the end of an important chapter of your lives. As the word commencement suggests, the day is really about beginnings and the start of the next chapter. It is a moment to celebrate what you have achieved through a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but it is also a moment to look ahead to what is coming next. Hopefully, a new and better future for you and your families, and the world at large.”

To close the commencement experience, Dr. Wallerstein instructed students to move their tassels, and directed them to online watch parties, associated with their respective schools, for the scrolling of the virtual degrees and calling of graduates’ names.

Baruch’s Strength: Students Meet People Who Change Their Lives

As the Class of 2020 valedictorian, Annmarie Gajdos spoke to her fellow graduates during the Virtual Commencement Experience discussing how Baruch’s diversity played an important part in her academic and personal life.

“I always thought of myself as a true New Yorker, but I didn’t truly understand New York until I came to Baruch College: a home for students of over 160 countries. You, the Class of 2020, inspired me to learn more about the world that we live in,” Gajdos said.

Gajdos, who is Slovak-American, studied abroad in Nanjing, China and volunteered extensively overseas helping in the Galápagos Islands, Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Republic of Georgia. In her speech, Gajdos said, “nothing excited me more than to come back to Baruch and share these experiences with my fellow Bearcats!”

Gajdos, from the Macaulay Honors College, graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems from the Zicklin School of Business. She also earned minors in business law and New York City studies, as well as completed a concentration in management of musical enterprises from the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.

The Class of 2020 salutatorian was Katherine Dorovitsine, and she delivered a speech at the College’s Student Achievement Awards on June 5. Dorovitsine, a first-generation student whose parents immigrated to the United States from Russia, graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and minors in New York City studies and international business.

Campus Community Joins Together to Celebrate the 2020 Graduates

Leading up to June 8, the College’s schools, departments, and programs hosted a calendar full of celebratory events. From Zoom, to videos, to social media, the entire College community offered congratulations to the Class of 2020 and expressed #Baruchpride for the perseverance and success of this year’s graduates in the face of difficult, challenging times.

Number of Degrees Conferred

The Class of 2020 featured more than 4,000 undergraduates and over 1,200 graduate students who received their degrees. Six graduates also obtained a doctorate.

The Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs conferred 285 Master of International Affairs, Master of Public Affairs, and Master of Science in Education degrees. The School also conferred 47 Bachelor of Science degrees.

The George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences conferred 149 Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, as well as 1,062 Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees.

The Zicklin School of Business conferred 865 Master of Business Administration and Master of Science degrees, and 2,930 Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. 

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(Story published on 6/9/20)

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