The excitement was palpable on Aug. 23 as the largest class of first-year students in more than a decade crowded into Mason Hall in the Lawrence and Eris Field Building at 17 Lexington Avenue for New Student Convocation, the annual ceremony that officially welcomes students to the Baruch community. In addition to launching the 2018–19 academic year, the gathering also kicked off the College’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration.
Joined on the platform by a party of faculty and staff VIPs, all in academic regalia, Baruch College President Mitchel B. Wallerstein, PhD, greeted the 1,650 newcomers and premiered Baruch College: Celebrating 50 Years of Access to Excellence and the American Dream, the first in a series of anniversary-themed videos. It features alumni from the sixties recounting Baruch’s perilous struggle to survive and become an independent senior college in the CUNY system. It was a hit!
Russell Shorto, author of this year’s pre-assigned First-Year Text, Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, served as the event’s keynote speaker. He told the newly minted Bearcats that “progressive 17th-century Dutch principles—tolerance, free trade, and social mobility—are part of America’s and especially New York City’s DNA. . . . It’s why you’re here and why Baruch’s here.”
Shortly after the student-centered events, on Sept. 13, the Office of the Provost organized Baruch’s Inaugural Faculty Convocation. A celebration of faculty excellence and dedication, the tradition- in-the-making offered an opportunity to recognize achievements and service and welcome new members. More than 60 new, full-time faculty members will join Baruch in 2018–19. These events all celebrated a common theme: Baruch’s enduring legacy as an agent of social and economic mobility.