A Message of Congratulations, Appreciation, and Celebration
A Message from Dr. Dwight A. McBride, President and University Professor
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Commencement week is here! Congratulations to all of our graduating students on your achievements and the well-deserved celebrations and ceremonies this week. It will be an especially proud moment when we officially confer over 2,500 New School degrees at the University Commencement at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday and welcome those graduates as our newest alumni of The New School.
In recent weeks, our campuses in both New York and Paris have been fully alive with vibrant student work—from recitals at the College of Performing Arts to the wide range of art and design work featured in the Parsons Festival and at Parsons Paris, the Lang Dean’s Honor Symposium, NSSR’s “Three Minute Thesis Challenge” and film screenings, readings, and project presentations in the Schools of Public Engagement. Their work is a testament to our students’ scholarship, creativity, and passion, our amazing faculty, and the compelling academic culture at The New School.
The bonds of our university community have been tested, shaped, and strengthened this year. A challenging period during the fall semester taught us all a great deal about how we navigate differences, how we communicate, and how we work together to reach solutions, understand perspectives, and build trust. This spring has been a time to refocus on collaborative university planning that will shape our future. I want to recognize the many individuals who have actively been involved in this work.
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee has developed a robust participatory process, starting with a series of “Compassionate Critiques” that use the “Framework for Fearless Progress” or “Four Pillars” as a point of departure. When I first shared the Pillars in the fall of 2021, I wanted to reflect on what I had learned from many conversations across The New School about the values and aspirations to connect, elevate, and amplify our excellence in teaching and learning, research, and creative practice. I offered the Framework as an invitation to us all—to dream together. I am excited by the process that is underway and grateful to all who are taking part in it.
I’m also grateful to the members of the Expanded University Budget Committee, or “UBC+,” as it is also known. This broad group developed a mechanism for inviting proposals from anyone, anywhere in the university, to share ideas for improving the university’s financial strength. Their work will shape and inform the Strategic Planning process but is oriented specifically to university finances, and the time horizon is shorter.
Alongside this forward-facing work, we’ve been undergoing a significant institutional assessment. I want to recognize the many faculty members and staff who have been engaged in the intensive and critical process to reaffirm our accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. That work has been active throughout this year.
Across all of this work, the Faculty, Staff, and Student Senates have been ongoing partners in university governance. They have been committed to reflecting the priorities and perspectives of their constituencies, keeping channels of communication open, and finding ways to collaborate on shared goals. Our university community is stronger because of their work.
Granted, and understandably, not everyone at The New School takes an active interest in broader university planning, operations, and governance. But for those who do, our goal is to welcome your engagement, support your efforts, and ensure there are ways for you to be involved.
Every contribution, every voice, every role is meaningful. The work that occurs beyond our classrooms and studios is focused on ensuring that The New School lives up to its fullest potential as a place where students, faculty, and staff can thrive, and where the boldness of scholarship, research, and creative expression can truly shine.
Please accept my best wishes as we close out this academic year, celebrate Commencement, and look Onward and Upward!