Crowd at CityU commencement

Message from the President – July 2017

Commencement is our opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students and our work. We all worked hard to get here – from caffeine-fueled coursework, to late nights spent polishing or correcting papers. At City University of Seattle, we are all about the finish, and nothing represents that better than the graduation ceremony when students walk across that finish line and receive their diploma jackets. Four hundred and eighty-nine walked this year at Key Arena and 1,144 total graduated.

President Frisch looks out at graduatesAs I looked out from the stage on commencement day, I saw several faces. The smiling faces of graduates who were reveling in the moment and savoring their achievements. I saw faculty members’ faces beaming with pride as they watched their students cross the stage. I looked to the sides of the arena and saw giant grins and tear-stained cheeks on the faces of graduates’ families and friends, many of whom had been cheering, cajoling, comforting, their students toward this terrific day. From my perspective, I could see a snapshot of what CityU is all about – getting our students across that finish line so that they can move forward confidently in the pursuit of their goals. It was a spectacular view. One other thing was perfectly clear to anyone looking: City University of Seattle is a global community. We are stronger and better with our friends from around the world. All are welcome at CityU.

Faculty members hugs graduate Finishing is what City University is all about, and the extra effort you make in returning that late email, taking a little more time with a transcript to ensure the most possible credit, asking a student who has not participated yet in class to answer a question, can make the difference. Our shared aim is for every student to complete her or his program. For the students yet to do so, the question is how can we better support and encourage them? What lessons can we learn and challenges can we address to make program completion possible for even more of our students? From successful student stories, often it is a clearly articulated plan forward from an advisor or an encouraging word from a faculty member that sparked the “I can” moment. Individually, collectively, we can make a profound difference in a student’s success. We each have the potential to create an “I can” moment for a CityU student. That is an awesome responsibility, and it requires us all to seek continual improvement. It is certainly a focus for me.

As we work toward Commencement 2018, we will have a thousand opportunities to help a student make that walk across the stage on June 16, 2018, and to help them realize they can do it. That’s our job, that’s our mission, that’s our passion…and from what I saw at commencement, we do it very well!