Dear 2020 Moore Graduates,

Congratulations! In previous speeches that I have made at Commencement, I have talked about persistence and why it is so important. Never has that quality been so much at the forefront of our characterization of a senior class, and yet, here you are—the most persistent cohort of students I have ever seen during my time at Moore, and perhaps throughout my entire career in higher education.

You began your final year at the College equipped to face the future. But, given the personal and academic challenges you have had to face along the way, you have acquired an enormous amount of intellectual, creative and professional development. In times of adversity, we can either decide to give up or to forge ahead, in pursuit of the greater goal and who we hope to become. I am proud to say that you have chosen and excelled at the latter. For every challenge that you’ve faced, you have come out on the other side stronger, more resilient and able to pivot—all signs of your persistence.

What other artists, designers, educators or curators, especially at this point in your careers, can boast the ability to handle crisis management, sound judgment in the face of adversity, grit and self-confidence, and prove it in the same way that you can? These qualities cannot be underestimated and should not be overlooked as you describe yourself to potential clients and employers. You are not just survivors—you are thrivers!

Over the past few weeks and months, Moore’s staff and faculty have collaborated to provide new or alternative opportunities for our graduating students—and that includes undergraduate seniors and graduate students. We are grateful to those who were able to participate in Moore’s first-ever digital Thesis Exhibition—a lasting way for us to honor your achievements and share your talents with the world. The website launched this past Friday to great praise and excitement from our entire community, and we hope you were able to share your outstanding work with your family and friends.

This week, we are looking forward to our virtual Commencement on Saturday, May 16, where we will award your degrees and ask you to proudly raise the roses you receive in the mail, as we toast to you. In the fall, we hope to toast to you again at an on-campus graduation event, to give you the special moment you deserve, to walk across our graduation stage. In addition, I am so excited to announce that we have arranged, in collaboration with Oxford Design Studio, to showcase the work of our senior Fashion Design students at New York Fashion Week this September! For those who cannot make it to New York, worry not, for the 2020 Fashion Design seniors have also been invited to join us in May 2021 for our Spring/Summer Fashion Show at the Barnes Foundation.

College is a time for personal growth. At Moore, it is also a time for artistic growth. And it is unique to any other chapter of your life—a time when you can take risks, experiment, try and fail, try again, and make connections with friends, peers and mentors that will feed and nurture you for the rest of your life. I think I speak for all of my colleagues at the College when I say that it has been a pleasure to watch you learn, grow and truly come into your own as the poised and motivated artists and designers that you are today. I know that you did not expect your final year at Moore to end quite this way. But I have every confidence that you are equipped to forge the creative careers of your dreams and make your marks in the world. I hope you can feel the warm glow of our excitement, even through your computer screens, for all that you will do with the skills and knowledge you gained at Moore.

No matter what, please remember that the future is bright. And thanks to the light that each of you bring to everything you do, you will undoubtedly go out into the world and make our collective future even brighter.

Cheers to you, the exceptional and intrepid Moore College of Art & Design Class of 2020.

With great fondness and admiration,

Cecelia Fitzgibbon
President, Moore College of Art & Design