School of Professional Studies Celebrates the Class of 2017

On May 15, 2017, over 600 School of Professional Studies students gathered on the Columbia University campus to celebrate the successful completion of their master of science degrees.

SPS Dean Jason Wingard, who presided over the ceremony, began by welcoming graduates and their family, friends, faculty, and guests. In his remarks, he gave five recommendations for success:

Dean Jason Wingard

He asked students to develop their own elevator pitches as graduates of SPS, where they can articulate their value proposition and their competitive advantage in this changing world.

Following Dean Wingard, David Madigan, Executive Vice President and Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Statistics at Columbia University, highlighted why SPS is one of his favorite parts of the university with a special cohort who recognize the value of investing in their professional development in the 21st century marketplace.

Graduation speaker Randall Lane, the Editor of Forbes Magazine, told the Class of 2017 that they are getting “a master’s degree in disruption.” Citing the interconnectivity of today’s age, he urged students to go out into the world and create some change: “there’s never been a better time in history for those who are young, smart, and ambitious.” He told several stirring stories about immigrants who, as entrepreneurs and founders, changed their industries. They all started with one thing: an idea.

Randall Lane

He ended his speech with a prediction that he was going to see at least one SPS graduate staring back at him in the pages of his own magazine. Challenge accepted.

Dean Wingard presented school honors, The Campbell Award and the Dean’s Excellence Award, to extraordinary members of the SPS' community.

Student speaker Dominic Rinaldi, a graduate of the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program, discussed how his experience as a graduate student changed him. In pursuing a master’s degree in becoming “a peep of peace,” Rinaldi also went deep, discovering conflicts within himself, that found a resolution in his program's community.

The ceremony ended as the directors of the School’s master’s programs then named the degree candidates.

Dean Wingard closed the ceremony with congratulations, and the Class of 2017 emerged as the newest alumni of SPS. With their degrees, the Class of 2017 joins a thriving network and community of more than 320,000 Columbia alumni worldwide.

It was a day of celebration, kicking off a week of events. On Wednesday, May 17, Columbia’s Commencement celebrated the Class of 2017, where University President Lee Bollinger officially conferred degrees to students from SPS and the University’s 17 other schools, colleges, and affiliated institutions.

Watch the video of the School of Professional Studies 2017 Graduation Ceremony and connect with us through #ColumbiaSPSGraduation on Instagram and Twitter.