Messages to Graduates: 2021 Ford School Commencement

May 1, 2021 0:27:45
Kaltura Video

A compilation of uplifting messages from Ford School faculty and staff to the graduating Classes of 2021.


Congratulations, Fordies. I’m so proud of you. You’ve accomplished so much, you’ve stood together, and I’m really just so excited to see what you’re going to do next. Go blue.

I'm Sharon Maccini. I'm on the Ford faculty and the Director of the BA program. Huge shout out to all of our graduating Fordies, our seniors as well as our grad students. So excited to celebrate with you all today. Congratulations and go blue.

Hi folks, it’s Professor P, or Natasha. I just wanted to say congratulations to the Class of 2021. I'm so excited for all of you. I've gotten the chance to teach all of the seniors and many MPAs and many MPPs over the last two years and I know it's been kind of an interesting and strange time, but you all have done it and I’m so proud of you and I look forward to seeing what you do in the future. Congratulations.

Hello. For the many of you who don’t know me, I’m Alan Deardorff, Professor here in the Ford School. I've been a professor at Michigan for over fifty years but I only taught a very few of you because I have only lately taught my course in International Trade Policy and I wanted to do this recording mainly for that small number of students who have had me in that class. And most of them, I would guess, took it this last fall when I taught it online so you're seeing me now very much as you saw me every day throughout the Fall in our online course. I just want to say how much I've enjoyed teaching this course for many years - in fact I’m going to continue teaching it even after I retire about a month from now because I enjoyed the course and I enjoyed the students, especially those from the Ford school although the class has students also from Economics taking it. I wish you well in your coming careers. I would love it if you ever find yourself using any of the modeling exercises that we did in my course, and if you do I'd love to hear about it. You know, email me and tell me how in your job you've been asked to quantify the effect of the trade policy or something like that. I don’t actually expect very many of you will have that opportunity. I still think it was a useful thing to learn. Anyway, congratulations to all of you. I wish you the best in your coming careers, and well, go blue 

Greetings, Class of 2021 and Zoom lawyers. I'm Alex Ralph, one of the quartet of writing instructors here at the Ford School, and I'd like to join with other faculty, congratulating you on your graduation. You may have heard that there is a pandemic and this will make the graduation a little bit different than other years, but I nonetheless hope that it's a meaningful event for you and your family. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors. If you come back to visit, come back with stories, come back with gossip, and do right well - and go blue.

Hello everyone my name is Alberto Rodriguez. I 
am a graduate of the MPA of the school of public  

policy in 1993. I want to congratulate all of 
you for completing your studies and for moving  

on to hopefully a fantastic and very rewarding 
professional career. Right now I work as director  

for operations of the world bank covering the 
sectors of education, health, social protection,  

jobs, and gender. Our global work this year has 
been enormously demanding with COVID-19 we've had  

to make sure that vaccines are distributed and 
they get to the poorest countries of the world.  

It has been difficult, but that's what we prepared 
for when we went to Michigan. We were thinking of  

how to contribute to a better world. If I were 
to advise anything for any of you, it is don't  

give up. There is always opportunities to 
contribute from any place, either on the  

ground working directly with communities, or at 
the policy level nationally or internationally.  

I really want to congratulate you for 
choosing a career in public policy  

as this is an area that has enormous impact on 
human development, on people, on the environment,  

and on so many challenges that humanity is facing. 
Congratulations for your graduation and go blue.

Hello, everyone. This is Avery from the Student Services here to wish you congratulations on your graduation. In a year unlike any other, it's been thoroughly impressive and enjoyable to watch as you accomplish great things not only in your classes, but in your research and your support of our community and your community back home and around the world. I know that you're all prepared to continue supporting these communities and to make a difference in the field of public policy. Congratulations, and go blue.

Congratulations, Class of 2021. I'm Alford Young, Professor of Sociology and Afro-American and African Studies, but I have the pleasure of having a courtesy appointment in the Ford school. That enabled me to get to know some of you and get to work with you quite directly in my involvement and campus initiatives like the Center for Social Solutions and the National Center for Institutional Diversity. It's there that I've had the benefit of recognizing the brilliance of Ford School students. Therefore, I'm especially thrilled to be able to offer my congratulations to you and my encouragement as you go out and tackle the world that is so sorely in need of your skills and abilities. We lived through a traumatic time. You all know that. Most importantly, you know how to approach and intervene in that world to make a big difference. By all means, go out there and do so, and go blue.

Hi everyone, this is Ann Lin. One of my favorite pandemic moments was the first meeting of our Fall 2020 project skills zoom. The first ten minutes of screen and audio were filled with all of you calling in your classmates and sending love out. When I remember the 2021 graduating classes, I'll remember all of your acts of grace and strength for each other. Special shout-out to the BAs who rallied when you got a new 320 Prof at the last minute and to the overwhelming number of second-years who signed up for the all-virtual IPE. I appreciate you and I thank you. Keep alive your support for each other, for justice and for the world - and go blue. 

Hi, I’m Beth Soboleski. To the Ford School graduates of 2021, I’m very excited to say congratulations and well done. You've made it through a year unlike any that we have known and hopefully unlike anything we will know in the future. So please, take a few minutes to enjoy and reflect on all that you've accomplished this year. You've treated each other with kindness and care and respect, and those are traits that will serve you well going forward. I’m sad that we haven't had a chance to spend time together in person, but I look forward to continuing to hear about the wonderful things that you do once you leave the Ford school. Please know that the Ford School is your home. You are part of our family and we will always be glad to hear about how things are going for you. So drop us a note, stop by and we will be so glad to see you. As you celebrate this milestone achievement, I just want to say congratulations, good luck and go blue. 

Hi everybody, it’s Alton Worthington. I hope you don't mind I got a little dressed up for the occasion - I get quite excited for graduations. I just wanted to reach out and give a hearty congratulations to all of our 2021 Ford School graduates. You've taken on a challenge in a very unusual time and I have to say how proud I am of the ways in which you supporting each other, you've lifted each other up, you've been there for each other and you’ve put in the hard work to learn the skills you need to go out and make a difference in the world and we need people who want to make a difference. So although we didn't get to see each other in person as much as we might have liked, getting to spend time with you in the classroom has been a real bright spot in this past time. And so without laboring on too long, which is my way, I'll just say that we're really excited to see what you do next. Hopefully you take the skills you've learned here and you go out and do great things to make a difference in the world. Don’t be strangers. We’d like to hear from you, so send us emails, keep us in the loop and let us know how you're doing, and feel free to ask questions. That's all I have to say for now, but I suppose in closing I’ll just say congratulations graduates. Well done and go blue.

Hi, I'm Cindy Bank, the Associate Director of the Program of Practical Policy Engagement, and I want to congratulate all the students graduating this year. The highlights of this past year for me have been the times that I've been able to spend speaking with you. I've been inspired by you and your commitment to make your corner of the world a better place. I know you'll go off and do great things. Please stay in touch, come back often, and make sure you come back to share what you're doing with our future classes. And forever, go blue.

I’m Valenta Kabo and I am so excited to congratulate you on your graduation. I’ve gotten to know some of you MPP’s and BA’s in my classes over the past couple of years. And one of the joys I’ve had going to work amid such crazy times is interacting with you. I am so impressed by your perseverance, your inquisitiveness, your thoughtfulness, and your abilities. One of the reasons I have for being optimistic about the future is that you are the next generation of leaders. So, when you go out and face the challenges that life will inevitably throw your way, you can look back at this accomplishment and know that you are more than capable of meeting those challenges. So, congratulations, again, and go blue.

Hi everyone. I’m David Morse, one of the writing instructors at Ford and also the instructor for undergrad classes on utopianism and the ethics and politics of lying. As a writing instructor, I often tell students to avoid cliches. But this time of year, at graduation, it's impossible to avoid platitudes and cliches, so I figured instead of fighting it, let’s just embrace it. So here it goes. As a society, we've all been under the weather. It's been an uphill battle. But hey - the grass is greener on the other side. And now you’ve graduated - you’re ready to move to that other side with the greener grass. And, if you play your cards right and read between the lines, don’t judge a book by its cover and remember that the mind is a terrible thing to waste and especially with Covid, that a friend in need is a friend indeed. And before you can say Jack Robinson, you will be the bee's knees living on cloud nine. But seriously, let me end something that's not a cliche but it kind of sounds like one. You cannot achieve what you cannot imagine. So imagine bigly and boldly and go forth and achieve great things. And of course the greatest cliche of all: go blue.

Congratulations on graduating! You are no
ordinary class, it took a lot a lot of perseverance

to get to this day, to stick with it, and
you did it. These are tough times for all

of us, yet you kept working and you made it
through. You've probably learned more about

public policy, the need for good policymaking,
and the challenges we're facing in the world

and how you can address them than any other
class. These challenging, painful times can

push us all the most, because they force us
to challenge what we think we know and ask

new questions. You've done that more than
any other class. We've all been doing that

across so many dimensions of our lives: about
how we want to live, how we can safely live,

and what it means to live together as a society
where everyone can thrive. You're equipped

to change the country and the world for the
better, and we need you more than ever. So

thank you for persevering. I'm going to offer
you three small pieces of advice to take with

you. The first is simply: Never stop learning.
And realize that failure, and criticism, is

a chance to learn faster. Now my third piece
of advice I hope you take to heart: Give praise

generously and often to those around you.
They need it and they deserve it. Just like

you deserve it. Congratulations. Please take
time to appreciate yourself. I appreciate

you. Your friends and family appreciate you.
And we are all amazed by everything you've

accomplished. Take time for yourself to recognize
just everything that you've done. You really

deserve it. Congratulations, and go blue!

Greetings. I’m Celeste Watkins-Hayes, the Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy and a professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. I'm also a university Diversity and Social Transformation Professor. I want to issue my thanks and my congratulations to the work of the Class of 2021. I know that it was challenging. I know that this was an unprecedented time in which to receive a degree, but you did it and I want to thank you for all of the work that you are going to do in the world. Given your training, your work and service are essential to our world. You have a lens now to see, to hear, to analyze and understand. All of this is necessary in our world. So use that gift in the service of those who need to be lifted up. Congratulations. Congratulations to your families, to your friends and to all who supported you. Be well and take care.

Hi, I’m David Thacher and I just wanted to congratulate all of the amazing Ford School graduates this year. I was just talking to my kids and explaining to them that I wanted to do this congratulations message for the graduates and what should I put into it. They thought I should try to simulate this kind of crazy Zoom world we’ve lived in this year by having the cat walk across the screen and having a kid barge in the room and tell me the stove’s on fire, that sort of thing. I decided I’d just stick with saying we’ve been through a lot to get this far. You guys are amazing. I really look forward to all the incredible things I expect you to do in your career. Keep in touch, congratulations, and go blue.

I’m Claire Davidson and I work in Graduate Career Services. I'm excited to share congratulations with the Class of 2021. I'm very grateful for the chance I had to get to know you over these last couple of years and have been continuously inspired by your resilience and perseverance. I can’t wait to see where you apply your skills and knowledge after graduation and I'm eager to stay connected as you become alumni of the Ford School. Congratulations again, and go blue.

My name is Chuck Shipan and I'm a Professor at Ford and in Political Science. I want to congratulate all the Ford School graduates, and I especially want to take a moment to congratulate Michael Lerener who is earning his PhD from Ford and from Political Science. It’s been my honor and privilege to serve as the Chair of Michael's dissertation committee. Michael’s dissertation is about an incredibly significant policy area - environmental policy, and about why some countries have been able to provide more effective leadership on this policy area. Michael has just done a tremendous job on this project and provided all sorts of important insights into this important policy area. Congratulations Michael. Well done .

It has been such a pleasure to work with Chiara Ferrero who is a joint student in Economics and the Ford School. Chiara does exciting work in Public Finance and Political Economy. Her thesis work was, some of it, how steep governors allocate federal grant money to districts. It turns out, they do so in a strategic manner in order to get themselves reelected. Something we all suspected was true, and now we have evidence. Chiara has other work on grants and federal grants to states and also work with Thomas Burrows, another one of our graduates, on property taxes during the great recession. It’s fascinating work, it involves economics and politics, it has been rigorously done and really contributes to our understanding. Chiara, after graduating, is off to the IMF. And, if Mario Draghi’s career is any guide, I think that means that ultimately she’ll wind up Prime Minister. In the meantime, I’m sure she will make major contributions to the Italian economy, the European economy, and, indeed, the world economy. Looking forward to great things, Chiara.

Congratulations, Ford School Class of 2021. You did it. Hello. My name is Cortney Sanders and I am an alumni of the Class of 2017. This year has been a tough year but you proved you were tougher. As a Ford school student, many of you made a difference in how we think about and infuse racial equity and anti-racism in our legacy and I couldn't be prouder to call you a fellow Fordie. You have taken the test, written the papers and finished your internships. You are more than prepared for the future ahead. My mother used to say, “do you know what stock you come from?” Well Fordies, I hope you know that you come from a long line of incredible people, from a president to activists and people from all across the world that’s making a difference. The Ford School prepared you for many challenges to solve and many problems so go show the world what you got.

Congratulations, Ford School of graduates. You all are poised to go out and make huge differences in the world. I'm really proud of you and I've been honored to have had you in my classes this year. Take care and go blue.

Hi and congratulations to the Class of 2021. You did it. I'm Kaitlin Raimi, an Assistant Professor here at the Ford School, and I just wanted to share how impressed I am with all of you and your ability to navigate this incredibly tough year while you were in school. I've been so inspired by your resilience and your empathy with one another and with your engagement with the world around you. It makes me really excited to see what you all are going to do next and for speaking on behalf of all of the Ford School faculty I really hope that you will keep in touch and keep us posted on everything that you're doing, because we love to hear from you. Good luck and go blue. 

Hey, good day. It’s Justin Wolfers here, and I remember when you shuffled into my classroom, very first day of graduate school, first quantitative class, and I know that you looked a little nervous at the time. And it’s two years later and look at you. Congratulations. I’m so excited to know that you graduated and you have to take the economic supertools that you learned here at the Ford School and use them to make the world a better place. Congratulations, and I look forward to tracking your many successes in the future.

Congratulations to the Ford School Class of 2021. I’d like to give a special shout-out to the seniors in my Fall 2019 495: Bryce, Connor, Damien, Samantha, Jack, Molly, Daniel, Lucia, Matthew, Julia, Angelica, Nick, Maeve, Lauren, and Bryan. And, to Marianna, Brady, Carrigan, Devon, and Julia who took my Fall 2020 495, at 8:30 no less. I hope that you will not need to put your financial crisis expertise at work before you’ve had a chance to celebrate graduation. But I have full confidence that you will use your knowledge of past crises for the greater good. I’d also like to send best wishes to Eric, Sharanna, Alex, Amy, and Chrisopher who took my International Financial Policy class and to Kiara and Stephanie in the PhD program. I am optimistic about the future, knowing the contributions you will all be making. Congratulations, Fordies, and go blue.

Hi everyone, I’m Jennifer Niggemeier, the Director of Graduate Career Services and Alumni Relations and today I am coming to you with my Alumni Relations hat on and I want to welcome you all to the Ford School Alumni community. You can’t get away so easily just by graduating. You’re now part of a much bigger community and we look forward to many years of engagement and hopefully giving back the ways that many alums gave back to you. We wish you all the best, and know that you are always a part of this network. Go blue. 

Hello, Jon Hanson here. I just want to offer my congratulations to our graduates from 2021. If the past year-and-a-half has shown us anything, it's that expertise matters in public policy, and I'm so honored to have been part of your training and policy analysis over the last couple of years, and I know that you're going to do go out and do great things and so I wish you all the best. Congratulations and go blue.

Hi, my name is Olushola Samuel. I'm a BA graduate, class of 2010, and I just want to wish my most heartfelt congratulations to you class of 2021. It has been a unique year, a challenging year, but your resilience has been so impressive. I'm extremely confident that you're prepared for whatever endeavor comes next and I'm extremely hopeful that your character, your compassion, your leadership and your creativity will lead our global community to sound policies in the future, so thank you in advance for that. And I just want to say congratulations again and go blue.

Hello. I'm Peter Vasher from Graduate Career Services. Congratulations to the Class of 2021. We're excited to see where your path might take you in years ahead, and know that your grit, resilience and hard work will serve you well wherever you make your policy impact. Congratulations, and go blue.

Hey Ford School graduating classes of 2021. I'm Rachel White, a 2010 Ford School BA alum and current chair of the Ford School alumni board. While your final year at the Ford School was quite different than anyone could have expected, I know that each and every one of you will use this experience as an opportunity for growth. Despite challenging contexts, you were resilient, passionate, and demonstrated what it means not only to be a Fordy, but a Wolverine. These skills will take you to the greatest of places, and I know you will use them to serve the public push for equity through policy and fight for social justice. Congratulations and go blue.

Hi, this is Professor Hills. Congratulations. This is a graduation that you will always remember and an education that will always stand you in good stead. So there's two things I want to pass along to you as we celebrate this. The first is this: we do the hard things in government so remember that one person can make a difference. You be that person. And when you make a difference, remember this: be bold. Thanks, and congratulations on a job well-done and a degree well-earned. 

Hi. I'm Stephanie Sanders, Lecturer and Diversity Officer in the Ford School of Public Policy. I'd like to send the class of 2021 my warmest congratulations. It's been an incredibly difficult year, yet I am truly inspired by your level of commitment and your fortitude. I believe that your hard work over the last two years has prepared you for life's next steps. At a critical time in our nation's history, your hard work, your leadership and your voice is important in developing sound public policies and public policy solutions. One piece of advice I'd like to bequeath graduates is to remember that every moment is an opportunity to learn. Learning certainly doesn't stop when you leave the classroom, so be curious, stay interested and remain engaged in ways that lead you to new insights. Congratulations, again, on a huge milestone, and go blue.

Hi, I'm Susan Guindi, Director of Student and Academic Services. Congratulations, Ford School Class of 2021. I'm so proud of you and so inspired by your perseverance in the face of a really tough year. You did it. So go forth, do great things, and forever, go blue.

Hi everyone. Yusuf Neggers, Assistant Professor of Public Policy here. Ford School Class of 2021 - congratulations. It’s been a pleasure having so many of you in class with me over the last couple of years and now I’m excited to see your next steps when you’re back out in the world working in areas that you’re passionate about. So, congratulations again, and go blue.

Hi, I’m Molly Spencer, a writing instructor here at the Ford School, and I want to wish a warm congratulations to our Class of 2021. One of the things that is giving me hope in these pandemic times is the knowledge that all of you and your intelligence, your ideas, and your care for each other in the world would be out in the world soon, shaping public policy and our shared public life. I truly believe you will make the world a better place. And now a bit of advice as you leave Ford and embark on your policy careers: remember, lead with argument, follow with evidence, and always use the simplest, most concrete word that will serve your purpose. Sorry. Once a writing instructor, always a writing instructor. Congratulations again dear Fordies, and go blue.