Students have worked hard all year and leaders are making sure that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed just because people can’t physically walk across the stage during the pandemic. One of those leaders is The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA). As a part of the efforrt to uplift the community, TIAA celebrated individuals who are committed to making a positive impact on society and on the lives of others who they consider to be next generation of difference-makers last week during their virtual commencement in partnership with Facebook and Snapchat.
During the ceremony, over 540 students receiving high school diplomas, college degrees, and postgraduate degrees were recognized for their accomplishments.
To recognize the graduates and their efforts to give back, TIAA awarded four individuals $1,000 book scholarships or to a charity of their choice, along with six honorable mentions and $500 book scholarships or contributions to a charity of the student’s choice. Additionally, 90 individuals received a $100 book scholarship or contribution of that amount to a charity of their choice.
For the ceremony, TIAA partnered with Snapchat to create a virtual graduation ceremony lens Snapchatter so they could experience hearing the crowd roar as they stand on the graduation stage in front of their fellow graduates with personalized Congrats signs. Through a partnership with Facebook, TIAA is creating a photo story for graduates or proud parents. Facebook users will be able to leverage existing photos or upload new photos/videos into a collection that can be sent to their friends or posted and commented on.
Parting Words to the Class of 2020
Roger W. Ferguson, president & CEO of TIAA, along with Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO of TIAA Financial Solutions; Chancellor Felix Matos Rodríguez of CUNY, the nation’s largest urban public university system; Jose Mineya, CEO of Nuveen Asset Management; Sean Woodroffe, Chief Human Resources Office of TIAA; and Corie Pauling, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer of TIAA and head of Corporate Social Responsibility gave remarks.
During Ferguson’s speech, he encouraged students to be optimistic about their futures; be continuous learners; see their career as more of a climbing wall than a ladder, and to set themselves up for success by building their financial knowledge.
“You’re entering a world and a future that you have every reason to be optimistic about—even in the midst of this pandemic. Being optimistic isn’t about sweeping our anxieties under the rug. It’s about being hopeful about the future, even during a crisis. In fact, it’s during times such as these that optimism is most important,” said Ferguson.
“When we approach challenges with confidence and hope, we do better and often gain important insights in the process. This pandemic may help you gain a greater sense of purpose, for example. You see, there is nothing—not even a pandemic—that can diminish the collective power of the human spirit to achieve and persevere,” he added.
In the midst of the pandemic, Ferguson wants to encourage graduates all over to see challenges as they present themselves as opportunities.
“Change is not something to be afraid of. It’s simply the natural order of things, and it has been that way since the beginning of time. Out of change comes improvement…that’s how we evolve and make things better. You’re entering a world and a future that you have every reason to be optimistic about—even in the midst of this pandemic,” he said.
“Being optimistic isn’t about sweeping our anxieties under the rug. It’s about being hopeful about the future, even during a crisis. In fact, it’s during times such as these that optimism is most important. When we approach challenges with confidence and hope, we do better and often gain important insights in the process,” Ferguson exclaimed.