College of Arts and Sciences Commencement ’16

By Jessica Martinez, Social Media Editor

Graduates, friends, family and loved ones filled Radio City Music Hall at baccalaureate ceremonies yesterday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the College of Arts and Science class of 2016.

Following the opening bagpipe and academic procession, CAS Dean Gabrielle Star began with a touch of competitive spirit, telling the approximately 1,000 graduates, “I was really proud of you yesterday because you did not let Tisch out-shout you.”

A record-breaking 32,000 people filled Yankee Stadium on Wednesday at the all-university commencement, the first for President Andrew Hamilton.

CAS baccalaureate was another first for Hamilton, who was vice-chancellor at Oxford University before coming to NYU.

“I thought Oxford was large and complex until I arrived at NYU. Now, I appreciate what those words really mean,” he told the CAS graduates.

Hamilton spoke about the sense of community he’s already seen during his brief time at the university and about the common misconception that NYU lacks a community.

“We don’t need a football team,” he said. “In my five months here, I’ve found students to be remarkably connected to this university — to be full of school spirit. We can see that in all of you in a sea of violet.”


History professor Edward Berenson delivered the faculty address. Berenson has a son in the graduating class, and said he therefore was in attendance today more as a proud parent than as a faculty member.

This year’s valedictory award was presented to Alexandra Braverman, who spoke about NYU’s prestige and all the university has to offer. She said she’ll board a one-way flight to India during the upcoming year during a year off of school, ending her speech with telling the full auditorium that NYU students are the No. 1 dreamers in the country.

CAS alum Nathan Sawaya, who received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, had his daughter on stage behind him as she was graduating today. Sawaya is well-known internationally for his artwork with LEGO bricks and gave each graduating student one violet brick and one white brick. In his address, he told the story of getting an NYU Law degree and then quitting his job at a firm “to work with toys.”

The Palisades ended the ceremony with a performance of the NYU Alma Mater, followed by a medley of “New York, New York” and “Empire State of Mind” as administration, faculty and graduates exited the hall.

Email Jessica Martinez at [email protected]