On Thursday, June 2nd, the Theater at Madison Square Garden was the place to find fabulous New York Women of all stripes and colors. But the color to watch for was purple, as in the violet-colored robes of Hunter College graduates. What a fantastic bunch they are.
Hunter College is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. These are the schools where New York City’s best and brightest traditionally come for an education that is both affordable and excellent. The stories of this year’s graduates shared by Hunter College President Raab show that the tradition is alive and well. She spoke of courage, perseverance and determination to triumph against seemingly insurmountable odds. It was a day to celebrate.
This year marked Hunter College’s 213th commencement exercises. Founded by Thomas Hunter in 1870, Hunter began as a school that educated women. An Irish immigrant, Hunter led the school as president for 37 years.
President Raab is a New York girl, originally from Washington Heights. She made the schlep to the Upper East Side to attend Hunter High School during her public school days as the first step to becoming Hunter’s President. A fabulous New York woman who helps other fabulous New York women – lots of them.
Today, Hunter’s roster of students includes women (and men since 1964) who hail from 150 countries. Many of their families traveled from other continents to mark the celebrations with their graduates. Hunter College is also the only college in America that has two female Nobel Prize winners on its roster of alumnae. And the roster gains more fabulous New York women each year.
This year, Hunter’s keynote speaker and President’s Medal Recipient was the media mogul, Arianna Huffington, who co-founded The Huffington Post. Arianna was born in Greece. But today, she’s an American citizen and fabulous New York woman with an office in Soho. Here, she works as Editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. She has also written 15 books. Huffington was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine and is on the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. In short, she fit right into the spirit, the vision and the accomplishments of Hunter College women.
What made me particularly happy about seeing Arianna Huffington on the stage at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, was that my daughter, Alexandra Wang, was one of the four Hunter BA recipients who presented her with the President’s Medal. I couldn’t be more proud.Like Hunter President, Jennifer Raab, Alex is from Washington Heights and attended New York City public schools. She will stay at Hunter to begin graduate studies at the School of Education. Her own future will be dedicated to fighting for the rights of people with disabilities.
Also on stage at Hunter College was another fabulous New York woman, Klara Silverstein, now Dr. Silverstein. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. A fabulous New York woman originally from Brooklyn, this was Dr. Silverstein’s third degree from Hunter College. She also holds a BA in social sciences (’54) and an MS in special education (’56) from Hunter College. She married New Yorker, Larry Silverstein, 60 years ago. Together, they have supported education, medical research and organizations that meet humanitarian needs. Fabulous New Yorkers.
In her Charge to the Graduates, President Jennifer Raab urged the students to remember the Hunter College motto: Mihi Cura Futuri, the care of the future is mine. With such a dazzling array of talent, determination and education, I have never been more confident in the future contributions of Fabulous New York Women to our great city. And I have never been more proud. Congratulations, Alex!