NYU Wagner Honors 410 Graduating Students at Convocation 2015


Hailing from thirteen different countries, 410 graduating students of NYU Wagner were enthusiastically honored at the school's 2015 Convocation ceremony on May 19 at the New York City Center. Arrayed in academic attire in a capacity crowd of more than 2,000 in all, the students—and their professors, family members, and friends—heard a rousing keynote address from the White House chief speechwriter Cody Keenan, himself the bearer of a master of public policy degree.

Embrace your trepidations as you embark upon and deepen your public service careers, Keenan advised the students at the ceremony. Use your nervous jitters to motivate you, as you also remember your main purpose, which is to serve the public good as effectively as possible, and make people's lives better.

Keenan, who worked his way up from the mailroom in the late Senator Ted Kennedy's office, and has been the senior speech writer for President Barack Obama since 2013, also exhorted the graduating students to “work your tail off,” appreciate being part of a collaborative team, think big, and hope to generate that indispensible thing—luck.

Swing for the fences, eschew half-swings. For “people are depending on you….Take a full swing on their behalf,” Keenan said, and the audience erupted in cheers and applause.

NYU Wagner Dean Sherry Glied opened the ceremony with words of welcome, citing the high probability of success for Wagner graduates now, as evidenced throughout the school's more than 75-year history. Diane C. Yu, Deputy President of New York University, followed with a message about the defining role Wagner graduates play in public service across sectors. Keenan was then introduced by student Jessica Nagro (MPA 2015).

Taking the stage, members of the graduating class each received one of the following degrees: Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Executive Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy. And as they did, their loved ones and friends stood and applauded their hallmark accomplishment in one of New York City's iconic venues.