Message from NY Lieutenant Governor


Hi, I'm Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. On behalf of Governor Cuomo, myself and the entire state of New York, I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2020. And to all the people, your family, your friends, your professors who helped you make it here today, you made it.

I have to say this is not the graduation speech I planned to deliver. Just like this is not the graduation ceremony you expected just a few short months ago. But as you have learned already, the ability to adapt is a survival technique that each of you have had to perfect. You are now entering into a world which has been radically altered. Forces beyond our control have changed our economy, our society, and indeed have changed each and every one of us. You are now bonded with others for the class of 2020 across the nation, in a shared moment of history that will define a generation.

I can guarantee that it's your 50th reunion. You'll be talking about what you endured, the the sacrifices you made, the loss of connection to your classmates and your professors. And you had the additional hardship of finishing your education through enormous stress. But through it all, missing the final days with your friends, and the celebration graduation, you endured. And it is that endurance, resiliency and a toughness coupled with a compassion and newfound appreciation for people in all walks of life. From health care workers to grocery store cashiers, to countless fellow citizens, who selflessly rose to meet the occasion. All this has built a foundation for your character that will serve you for as long as you live. It may not feel like it yet. But your experience surviving the global pandemic of 2020 is a rock upon which you will measure all future challenges, setbacks and whatever life throws your way.

Just like the greatest generation, who endured and survived the Great Depression and World War II, you and members of your class has a potential to be the generation held in esteem and all for your grit, and your spirit of determination that got you to this graduation today. And this will carry you forward into a world of uncertainty in a world of possibility. In History class, you heard how the greatest generation led many to achieve the elusive American dream. Now your country is turning to you, our next generation for inspiration and hope as we define our legacy and look toward a more just and civil society. So more than just earning the right to wear a cap and test line your head, you have earned the right to wear the mantle of responsibility on your shoulder that comes with what you've accomplished, despite all the unimaginable adversity that you overcame.

Class of 2020, as the curtain of social distancing and isolation begins to live, and we venture out from this period of darkness, I challenge you to define the new American dream as we collectively search to learn lessons from our shared experience. Use your newly acquired education and your passion to be a catalyst to shape our post pandemic society in a way that promotes generosity, love, and kindness. That's exactly what this world needs right now, and YOU can lead the way. Congratulations.

Last Modified 6/9/20