2008 Graduation - Valedictory Celebration

Christine Rhee, Student Speaker

When I first discovered I was accepted into Steinhardt's graduate program in Performing Arts Administration, I was faced with a very difficult decision. I could finally pursue my passion and start my dream career in arts administration. Or, I could turn down the acceptance and remain at my comfortable job. I was in a stable career field, and afraid of walking away from financial security.

Two years later, I am honored to stand here on behalf of my colleagues. Obviously, I chose to follow my dream career. And I chose the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

All of us here arrived at Steinhardt not knowing for sure what we would definitely gain as we began our programs. We only knew for sure what we were leaving behind, whether it was a certain career path, financial security, or our hometowns. We didn't know if we would succeed, but for something we loved to do, we knew we had to at least try. For me, I love introducing my friends to classical music, and bringing new audiences to the arts. For others here, you love to serve the fields of visual arts, education, therapy, health, and communication.

Regardless of our reason for coming here, what unites us is a shared desire to make a difference in our fields. Perhaps each of us could have succeeded at what we were doing before coming to Steinhardt. Instead, we chose to take a risk and join a school we believed would prepare us to better serve our communities. This choice makes us brave people. I am truly honored to stand in your company.

You know, the media says we are a generation of people with a sense of entitlement. Let's prove that true. We feel entitled to live in communities that promote positive physical, mental and emotional growth. We feel that all people are entitled to these things, and so we have decided to dedicate our lifework to make such access possible. Let's go out and work hard to get what we deserve.

To the faculty and staff at Steinhardt, on behalf of my classmates, "Thank you." We started our programs with our passion, and today we graduate with the knowledge, experience, and support we gained from your guidance.

To our families and beloved friends: Thank you for your unfailing love and support. You are our foundations.

And finally, to my fellow classmates: My heartfelt joy on our graduation. I hope we continue to remember our passions, and continue to be brave. Congratulations Steinhardt Class of 2008!