New School News

The Right Mixture for a New School Commencement

Take two community activists, one psychologist of war, one media-savvy journalist, and mix roughly 3,000 caps and gowns. Season with musical performances, speeches, and commendations. Let sit for two hours. The result? A New School commencement.

As the semester winds down, thoughts turn to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where this year’s university-wide graduation ceremony takes place on May 18. The site of the Javits Center, the northernmost end of the High Line, is appropriate for the day’s keynote speaker, Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the High Line.

More than a decade ago, Hammond partnered with his neighbor Joshua David to launch a campaign to give new life to a piece of Manhattan history: the derelict elevated railroad tracks that run along the borough’s west side. The High Line’s striking architectural and landscape design has made it a world-renowned park whose development marks the neighborhood’s economic and cultural renaissance.

The combination of civic activism and discourse and forward-looking design that underpin Hammond’s High Line project reflect the highest values of The New School. Hammond will be joined on the dais by three other honorees whose work upholds the university’s public-minded principles: Robert Jay Lifton, founder of the field of psychohistory and author of more than 20 books, including The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide; Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of NPR’s On the Media and author of The Influencing Machine; and Ana L. Oliveira, president and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation and former executive director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

This year’s graduating class, the largest to date, includes the first students to graduate from the MS Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management, MA Fashion Studies, MFA Fashion Design and Society, and MFA Transdisciplinary Design programs. The New School’s first dual-degree M.Arch/MFA in Architecture and Lighting Design students will also be awarded their degrees.

To learn more about The New School’s 76th commencement, visit

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