Silver School of Social Work Commencement

Francisco Navas, senior editor

The Silver School of Social Work graduation ceremony, held in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center on Monday, hit all the traditional notes with 39 undergraduates, 550 post-graduates and one dog walking the stage.

After dean Lynn Videka’s opening remarks and the awarding of the NSAW award to Elizabeth Chon and Nicole McCullough, the school’s 55th keynote speaker Phil Coltoff delivered his remarks. The alumnus highlighted the importance of the graduates before him, repeatedly lauding their decision to become “leaders of the public good,” social change and “moral commitment to administer to the needs mostly excluded from our society’s riches and rewards.”

Coltoff spoke about the current sociopolitical events, such as the death of Eric Garner, the overpopulation of jails and other moments from this year that demand progressive change.

“The time is now, the imperatives are before us, the issues of national identity are clear,” Cotloff said. “Let’s seize the moment.”

Undergraduate student speaker Tasha Kozak read a poem she wrote, recalling the collective experience of the Silver student, from putting up with slow elevator in the school’s Washington Square Building to topping off their MetroCards with their last few dollars to attend a protest.

McCullough delivered the last student address before the presentation of the Master’s students. She, like Kozak, recalled days and nights of volunteering, protesting and lobbying for systemic justice.