At a diploma ceremony on May 20, part of Fordham’s 178th commencement, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences celebrated students who were graduating with greater knowledge not only about their academic fields but also about themselves.

One student speaker, Alice Grissom, said a master’s program serves “as a kind of trial period” that can help clarify one’s direction.

“The beauty of the master’s program is in this unique combination of opportunity and reflection,” said Grissom, who earned a master’s degree in medieval studies and is headed to Rutgers for a doctoral program in English.

“After the well-deserved cheers,” Grissom said, “take a moment to pause, listen, and reflect on your achievements and development—the way that you have changed Fordham and the way Fordham has changed you.”

The graduate school bestowed more than 360 degrees, including advanced certificates as well as master’s and doctoral degrees, in a rainy but jubilant ceremony held in front of the University Church on the Rose Hill campus.

A Doctoral Graduate’s Journey

The graduates and guests also heard from a graduating doctoral student, Faaria Fasih-Ahmad, whose field is molecular biology. “We have pushed the limits of knowledge further than ever before. We have contributed to the ocean of information in our own fields,” said Fasih-Ahmad, noting that the breadth of this information hit home to her during the recent GSAS three-minute thesis competition.

“I was honestly shocked at the wide variety and intensity of the projects. From medieval studies to economics to philosophy to English, I learned so many new things in three-minute intervals about subjects I had never even thought about on my molecular biology island,” she said.

“It’s so difficult to feel like something’s ending, because our thirst for knowledge, our enthusiasm for our research, has not ended,” Fasih-Ahmad said. “Just like the river meandering through the canyon, we carved our own unique path in our successful educational journey.”

“And now that we’ve reached the end of that voyage, we realize that we’ve already packed and boarded the ship for the next adventure.”

“Just as this rain signifies new beginnings, today we are no longer Fordham graduate students. We are Fordham alumni,” she said.


Chris Gosier is research news director for Fordham Now. He can be reached at (646) 312-8267 or [email protected].