Nearly 5,000 Bearcats graduate at Barclays Center

Around 4,891 Baruch College graduates celebrated their commencement ceremony at The Barclays Center on June 5. Thousands of caps were decorated and the Baruch spirit was present and alive throughout the entire arena. As graduates entered the arena, they were organized and seated according to their corresponding school. The representatives holding the schools’ banners—members of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the Zicklin School of Business—made their way to the stage.

Once all attendees settled down, guests and graduates received welcoming words from Baruch's President Mitchel B. Wallerstein, who admired and recognized Sen. Charles Schumer and WeWork CEO Adam Neumann for their leadership and success serving as ideal examples for all students to follow immediately after stepping into the real world. Wallerstein emphasized the significance of diversity in a time of borders, confrontational political disagreements and separation. Stressing the honor involved in being a Baruch alum, he applauded the graduating class and encouraged everyone to be a great leader in the world and to pay it forward by connecting with the college and giving back to the community that helped students become leaders.

Afterward, Schumer congratulated all members of the graduating class and shared a personal anecdote that outlines a life lesson. Schumer explained that he once had an opportunity to travel the world, all expenses paid, but he chose to stay home with his girlfriend. After she broke up with him soon later, he knew that he made a huge mistake: he failed to take a risk.

Neil deGrasse Tyson also spoke at the event. He was also the recipient of an honorary degree.

Quamid A. Francis, who was the salutatorian of the class of 2017, served in the U.S. Marines, was vice president of marketing for Black Student Union, interned for council member Helen Rosenthal and was awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award. Caitlyn Larsen, the graduating class' valedictorian and a former staff writer for The Ticker, shared inspiring words about her experience at Baruch.

Larsen admired the culture she saw at Baruch and encouraged students to extend Baruch culture and respect diversity in the fields, careers and jobs before them.

Undergraduate Student Government President Daniel Dornbaum also had some encouraging words for the graduating class.

Neumann, a member of the class of 2017, also shared his experience with the graduating class. Although his business was succeeding, his grandmother encouraged him to get a degree. He returned to school to earn a BBA in entrepreneurship. His initial college years began by studying a little and partying a lot. He practiced marketing by hitting on girls in bars.

Immediately, he noted discomfort and saw that not being the lifestyle he sought after being criticized by a sibling in Israel. That was when he decided it was time to start his business ventures. Neumann outlined his blueprint for success for students that included strong sets of friends, relationships, kids, family and building a strong business or joining one with great purpose, people and amazing products.

The ceremony was brought to an end after the graduates were all officially recognized for their hard work upon the degree they obtained. When all graduates, faculty and guests stood and tassels were moved to the left, confetti exploded over the Barclays Center as graduates celebrated their entry into the working world.