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May 2021 Commencement Message

Dear Graduates,

I want to extend my profound congratulations to the Class of 2021. In a year like no other — one that will go down in history for its unparalleled challenges — you have persevered, adapted, grown and succeeded. The sense of renewal and hope that accompanies your graduating class is felt all around the world, and I am honored to be able to celebrate your commencement in person.

Undoubtedly, the Class of 2021 will be remembered for its demonstration of resilience, integrity and innovation. Certainly I will always remember this spring’s unique ceremony — our first major in-person event in over a year, held through ten individual ceremonies, each as historic as the next.

Although you will be graduating into especially exceptional times, the depth of your accomplishment is evergreen: You have earned a degree from one of the finest universities in the world — an institution renowned for its significant contributions to the advancement of science; ingenuity in the arts, humanities and critical thought; steadfast commitment to local communities; and unwavering dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our country and our world are at a critical moment, standing on the precipice of our collective future, and you are a part of the next generation of leaders who will determine where we go from here. I know that you will be equal to this task, and look forward to watching all of you move forward in your chosen fields and studies with the same grace, grit and determination you have shown during your time at Stony Brook.

I hope you continue to be proud of what you have achieved in earning this degree, and the way you worked to foster an environment of care, respect and civility even in the most difficult times.

As you join our more than 200,000 alumni from around the globe, we hope you, like them, will consider Stony Brook University a continuing resource and second home. According to myth, the Seawolf brings good luck to anyone who has the chance to spot it. And I can feel the luck with us today, ushering you into this exciting next chapter of your lives. 


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Maurie McInnis