Prepared remarks for Commencement 2013 by Barnard Board of Trustees Chair Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald '81.

To the graduating class of 2013, I bring greetings and warmest wishes from the Board of trustees.   It’s great to be here at Radio City Music Hall—an absolute thrill for me since I spent many holidays in your seats at the Rockettes show!   But now you are here for this important milestone and I’d like to share a few thoughts about Barnard. 

Over the past few months, we have all been reading and speculating about President Obama’s picks for US Ambassadorships.  In fact, it’s quite exciting that one of Barnard’s very own trustees has been mentioned among the possible candidates.  These events prompted me to think about what it takes to be an Ambassador and the importance of the role—not only for our country, but for our alma mater.

I looked up the definition of Ambassador and there are several types: one is a diplomatic agent of the highest rank assigned to a foreign government to represent his own country. There are Goodwill Ambassadors—a title of honor for someone who delivers goodwill or who promotes ideals—either peer to peer, country to country.  There are Brand Ambassadors who market a brand, product or service, and work to spread the news.  And then, there is you. How can you, individually and as a group, reflect on the meaning of your Barnard education and help ensure that the College remains as influential and relevant as it is today? 

Barnard’s faculty and administration have worked very hard to prepare you with the tools you need to successfully begin the next stage of your life.  You leave here with an outstanding education and for some, direct work experience through internships or paid summer jobs; you’ve held leadership roles in clubs, athletics and student government.  You are ready to succeed in whatever you do—you are Barnard graduates.  And you also leave with lifelong friendships and strong ties to faculty and administrators whose influence will be with you forever.

Barnard is an incredibly vibrant and powerful institution that plays a unique and important role in educating women.   President Spar’s global travels and leadership initiatives have enriched our campus with a more diverse student population and broadened our reach.  But we still have work to do to communicate our message and to engage our alumnae.

So today, we ask you all to go forth and be Barnard Ambassadors.  Keep spreading the word about Barnard wherever your lives take you.  Come back to campus regularly, to attend your reunions, to volunteer as class officers, and join me as a trustee one day.  Please support, mentor and hire Barnard students in your future companies and professions.   Be Champions —and continue to promote the outstanding work that Barnard is doing for women across the globe. With you as our ambassadors, I know that we are in good hands, and I look forward to watching both you and the College flourish in the decades to come.    

Congratulations and Godspeed.