Strong, Beautiful Class Day
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog apologizes for the delay in Barnard class day coverage. Our camera wasn’t working and we couldn’t have you just take us at our word.
On Tuesday morning, as a faint drizzle turned into a steady downpour, 597 “awe-inspiring women” graduated from Barnard, along with their president. Let me the spare you the burden of reading the rest of this post: Barnard class day won this year.
Although the college had boasted of a star-studded class day with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Billie Jean King (tennis star), David Remnick (New Yorker editor-in-chief) and Thelma Adair (Head Start founder), only hizzoner addressed the graduating class. The rest received Barnard medals of distinction. New Yorkers are accustomed to seeing Bloomberg on TV for the occasional press conference, and he usually appears somewhat lovable, schlumpy and uninspired. But during his class day speech he was practically animated—funny at all the right times, legitimately inspiring at others—and reminded everyone why he’s Joel Klein’s boss and not vice versa.
He began by mocking JShap’s poodle, Nora, who he called a “one poodle canine security patrol” and questioned the dog’s legal right to parade about an otherwise dog-free campus. He then addressed the subject of the wall around the Vag’s construction zone with the tone of an amused civil servant. “You’ve all spent your senior year learning to be graffiti artists,” he said. “May I remind you—your tagging days are done. What happens at Barnard stays at Barnard.”
“Except, you’re not staying at Barnard,” he added. And from there on, he advised the graduating class not to worry about their salaries, but to “make sure your first job will teach you and humble you.” He recounted his experience being fired from Salomon Brothers, which led to his decision to start Bloomberg LP in 1981, and his emergence in the political arena in 2001. He urged graduates to go into public service, noting, “there’s never been a better time for women to enter government” and gave shout-outs to a few city hall interns. “Go get ‘em” he bellowed, to a standing ovation.
Following this, Jshap was treated to a surprise speech—“Each and every one of us is more than a little verklempt to see you go”—and another standing ovation (there was much standing and clapping and cheering). And after the degrees were conferred—“political science and theater…interesting…” commented Dean Denburg—Jshap gave her own farewell address, which unfortunately was a rundown of all her speeches given in the last 14 years in sparknotes form. “You are entering the working world in some seriously interesting times,” she intoned, echoing the vaguely foreboding the-economy-sucks-the-government-sucks sense every speaker this year has suggested. And what will she be doing while Barnard grads are wage-slaving? “You’ll see me on campus,” she said, in bookstores, at lectures, and in Starbucks. “I’ll be the relaxed one with my triple grande nonfat latte.”
Prior to this, senior class president Remi Coker, SGA president Laura Stoffel, and Ruth Talansky, gave speeches. Bwog admits to missing most of Coker’s speech, but the last five minutes were quite nice—an assertion of “how far we’ve come” as seen in the V-show. Stoffel’s had a theme of “pioneering” while Talansky’s had a theme of “legos” and interconnection and began “I would like to talk to you about legos.” Bwog, while a fan of pioneers, legos, and themed speeches in their respective independence, found the interconnection a bit much.
More photos brought to you courtesy of Barnard’s PR people. The top two were taken by David Wentworth and the bottom three are by Monika Graf.