2013 Baccalaureate Celebration - Stephanie M. Plachy, Student Speaker

Good morning and welcome fellow graduates, faculty, administrators, and of course family and friends. I am honored to be here celebrating with you, and while I am in no way qualified to give you useful advice for the future, I would like to express my gratitude for the incredible experience I have had at NYU Steinhardt.

Four years ago I began my journey at NYU as a wide-eyed eighteen year old from the suburbs, and looking back I want to laugh at the girl who had no idea what to expect upon her arrival. I somehow made it through the craziness of Welcome Week, and as the semester started I still wondered how I would make this enormous community my home.

Happily, before too long NYU Steinhardt became just that--my home. A few weeks into my first semester, I attended a meeting of the Undergraduate Student Government, and finding a group of Steinhardt students (which can be hard to do after we put away our highlighter yellow backpacks from orientation), helped me begin to figure out why I was here at NYU. In the world of Steinhardt, I found caring professionals and future professionals wholly dedicated to their work. I transitioned into life here and made friends. Slowly, I began to find my niche.

Of course, you probably didn’t experience Steinhardt in the same way that I did. Many of you began your undergraduate careers elsewhere. Your arrival would have been exciting and possibly nerve wracking, but you came in with valuable knowledge about what it means to be a college student under your belt. Others may not have been as young as I was when you arrived. Perhaps you didn’t live in a residence hall, instead commuting from your home and still finding the time to complete all of your school work.

Despite these differences, I know that we have all been blessed with a similar range of opportunity. Steinhardt allowed us to travel across the world through the Dean’s Research Travel Colloquium and the Dean’s Global Honors Seminar, and through those programs we were able to find where our many interests and fields of study connect and complement one another. Many of us studied away for a summer, semester or an entire year. We performed on the stages of the Lowe Theatre, the Provincetown Playhouse, and the NYU Skirball Center. We completed internships with organizations such as the Department of Health, Sesame Street, New York Fashion Week, and the Department of Education. We took on work study or other part time jobs. We were leaders on campus in organizations from Greek life to the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. We served as Orientation Leaders, Resident Assistants, and Commuter Assistants, supporting our peers through the everyday challenges of college. Our co-curricular activities complemented our academics and made us more well-rounded individuals. We have studied, worked, celebrated, and fully taken advantage of our time here. With all of the tools given to us by NYU Steinhardt, I am sure that we are well prepared to enter our chosen fields with both competence and confidence.


I hope that you all continue to seize the opportunities that you will now encounter as a graduate of NYU Steinhardt. Despite the challenges, I am sure that you will all proceed with both competence and confidence. Congratulations, class of 2013 and best of luck to you.