Remarks by the Chair, Board of Trustees

Sunday, May 21, 2023
by Anthony J. Friscia ’78, P’15, Chair, Board of Trustees

Thank you, President Bradley. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, congratulations class of ’23! And congratulations to your families and loved ones who made it possible for you to be here today, and I know made every sacrifice they could to help you on this journey.

It’s hard for me to believe that I graduated on this hill 45 years ago. The time has gone by way too fast. But having sat where you are sitting, I’m pretty sure of two things: One is, you will never forget this day; and two is, you will not remember that I spoke to you today. We always talk about how each generation is different than the last. And there’s no doubt the Vassar you have gone to is different than the one that I went to, but the one I went to was different than the all-female classes that preceded me. And in each decade, you could come up with reasons why the College is different. But what I want to focus on briefly today are the things that we all share as Vassar graduates. And there’s a few.

Number one, I talked to alums from the fifties all the way to current. And when I asked them what Vassar meant to them, almost always the first thing they say is the friends that they made here. And those friends became lifelong friends. You’re sitting with people today that you feel very close to, and I can assure you, they’re going to be there for you the rest of your life. It’s amazing how that happens and it’s amazing how it happens to every generation of students. I saw a friend whom, because of COVID, I hadn’t seen in five years. We had lunch a few weeks ago. And it’s like we just picked up on the conversation the way we’d had it the last time we talked. The intensity of what you experienced here with one another is something you’ll carry forever, and that’s important.

Number two, for most of you, at least one person behind me has had a profound impact on you and that will stay with you. These are folks who’ve dedicated their lives to educating you. And you heard Dean Hoynes’s description of those who are retiring. It’s amazing the scholarship they brought to you and the time they dedicated to you. So through the years, whenever you recall that, or whenever that impact is meaningful to you, I suggest you just drop a line and say thank you because those thank yous can be very meaningful to the faculty here at Vassar.

Number three, I do hope that you look at today as the beginning of your relationship with Vassar, not the end, because there’s an army of alums out there who are ready and willing to help you on your journey. If you pursue this, I promise you what will happen is an older alum will be there for you as a mentor to open a door, to give you advice when you need it most. Some of my closest friends were here long before I got here or arrived here long after I left. So there’s an opportunity for you to have a relationship with Vassar that’s much deeper than the one you leave here with today.

And, finally, as the years pass, the value of this education will become more and more apparent to you. I promise you, that will happen. You’re leaving today, but remember that Vassar is always a place that you can call home, and I do hope you look at it that way. So my best to you, class of ’23. Congratulations on an amazing achievement. Please be well, and good luck in all that you do.