Baruch College Confers More Than 4,800 Degrees during 2017 Commencement

Nearly 18,000 People Fill Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Celebration

Baruch graduates at commencement

Baruch College graduates at Commencement exercises at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn


NEW YORK, NY-June 6, 2017 – Baruch College conferred 4,872 degrees from its Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and Zicklin School of Business  on June 5 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  More than 18,000 people filled the Center for the celebration. Dr. Mitchel B. Wallerstein, president of Baruch College, and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Christy, PhD, presided over the Commencement exercises.

The Class of 2017 included 343 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs becoming the first students to graduate under the Marxe name; 1,111 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients from the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences; and 3,437 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients from the Zicklin School of Business.

The College also awarded 16 doctoral degrees to students who completed coursework and dissertations under the supervision of faculty. These doctoral degrees were previously awarded at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, and the students were recognized as graduates of Baruch College during Commencement.

In his remarks to the Class of 2017, President Wallerstein touched on the current political turmoil in the United States and around the world, and called on the graduates to pay it forward for future generations by becoming involved in their communities and at all levels of government.

“We strive to develop students and future professionals who can collaborate across racial, ethnic, and religious lines, and who appreciate the value and importance of international engagement and respect for those who come from different backgrounds. Too much is at stake for our planet and there’s too much to do together,” he said.

Commencement Speaker also a 2017 Alumnus

Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO of WeWork, delivered the Commencement address. In 2010, Neumann and co-founder Miguel McKelvey started the company in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood with the idea of creating a workspace environment that centered on community. Today, WeWork provides workspace, community, and services to over 100,000 members in more than 44 cities around the world.

Neumann is also a member of the Class of 2017, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship from the Zicklin School of Business. In 2002, Neumann entered Baruch but, by the fall of 2005, left the college to launch a career as an entrepreneur. Since then, his grandmother had been encouraging him to finish his education. Despite his tremendous success in business, Neumann returned to Baruch College this year, and completed the required coursework to obtain his degree 15 years since he was a first-year student.

“I know everyone here is a graduate, but in the pursuit of personal growth, we’re all students for life,” said Neumann. “And I think every night before you go to sleep, ask yourself: ‘Did I learn something important today? Did I have a big lesson? Or a small one?’ And if the answer is no, think harder, because every day there is one.”

This year’s valedictorian, Caitlin Larsen, received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Macaulay Honors College at Baruch. She addressed her fellow graduates saying, “As we graduate today in these times of deep political and international division, who we are and how we choose to treat people with all sorts of backgrounds and identities, becomes even more crucial.”

During the event, Provost David Christy also acknowledged Quamid Francis, the salutatorian and former US Marine, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs. Francis had previously spoke at the College’s recent Student Achievement Awards ceremony.

Recognizing Outstanding Faculty

Baruch College bestowed honors on four faculty members. Eric Mandelbaum, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, received the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Research. The Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Faculty Service went to Thomas Halper, who is a professor in political science. Jessica Lang, associate professor in the Department of English, and Henry Shevlin, an instructor in the Department of Philosophy, received the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Faculty Service.

Honorary Degree Recipients

This year’s Honorary Degree recipients were Neil deGrasse Tyson and Allan E. Goodman.

Dr. Tyson, who received a Doctor of Pedagogy degree for his extraordinary accomplishments, is a renowned astrophysicist and the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. In this role, he has been a leader in advancing the understanding of science and particularly astronomy and astrophysics by the general public.

Dr. Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), accepted a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his exemplary accomplishments in international education IIE is the leading not-for-profit organization in the field of international educational exchange and development training. The organization conducts research and administers the Fulbright Programs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, as well as several hundred corporate, government, and privately sponsored programs on international education.

Special Guest

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) made a surprise appearance at the Commencement ceremony. In offering his best wishes, Senator Schumer exclaimed, “To the great class of 2017 at Baruch College, one of the best colleges in the country, congratulations!”


Watch Commencement video here

Watch Adam Neumann’s Commencement address here (courtesy of WeWork)


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