Greetings of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein (as written)
The City University of New York
Hostos Community College Commencement/
Investiture of President Félix Matos Rodriguez
June 4, 2010
Good evening. I am delighted to join all of you for this very special occasion. It is a very great honor to be joined today by distinguished Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and to welcome her back to the Bronx and to her mother’s alma mater. Justice Sotomayor, a year ago your nomination to the Supreme Court, and your extraordinary record of judicial and academic accomplishment, brought tremendous pride to everyone at The City University of New York and especially to Hostos Community College. And, as you can tell, that sense of pride has only multiplied since then. I don’t have to tell you that around here, you are an exemplar—and your mother, Celina, is something of a rock star.
Most important, I offer my warmest congratulations to the Class of 2010—the largest graduating class in the college’s history. (And a class that is three-quarters women, and more than half Hispanic.) On behalf of the entire University, I am deeply proud of all you have accomplished in order to reach this milestone.
I also congratulate and thank your family and friends for their support. We rarely achieve anything alone, and I salute the many people who have lent a hand along the way.
And today, as we install President Matos Rodriguez as president, I am also grateful to have the opportunity to officially welcome you, Felo, to CUNY and to Hostos. All of you have had a chance to get to know Felo, so you know why I continue to be so optimistic about the future of Hostos under his leadership. Felo, thank you for the vision and energy you are bringing to this wonderful college.
Class of 2010, as your president knows, graduating from Hostos Community College is truly something special. You are part of a very vibrant, very proud community and a remarkable group of alumni. The Hostos faculty and staff deeply value the education of the whole person. Together, they build better citizens, not just better students.
In doing so, the college carries on the spirit of its namesake, Eugenio Maria de Hostos. His understanding of what it means to be an educated person encompassed so much more than simply studying a particular subject and then putting aside his books and notes, out of sight and out of mind. On the contrary, Hostos spent his life as a learner. He was passionately engaged in the world around him, whether he was speaking up on behalf of others or leading reform efforts.
I hope that you, too, will be guided by that spirit. I hope that you look at your Hostos diploma not as a summation of what you’ve done, but as a kind of Metrocard that can take you where you want to go.
Because the truth is that now that you’ve given in to your curiosity and tapped into your creativity, there’s no going back. Now you’re committed. Now that you’ve seen how far you can go, you must keep learning, keep working, keep dreaming. You must be the voices of New York’s future.
As the Pulitzer prize-winning author Junot Díaz once wrote, “…[I]f these years have taught me anything, it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.”
Well, Class of 2010, you’re in. And being in—that is, being involved, invested, and inspired—is indeed the only way out—out of the many challenges we face together: whether social, economic, cultural, political, or environmental. You need look no further than Justice Sotomayor to see just how far such a commitment can take you.
I look forward with great anticipation to seeing all that you will contribute to meeting those challenges. On behalf of the University, congratulations to all of you, and best wishes for your success.