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A Letter to the Graduates


To the Vanderbilt students who will graduate in 2020,

Congratulations on reaching your final year of study at Vanderbilt—an incredible milestone! At Commencement on May 8—and many times before and after that—we will celebrate your achievements as individuals and as part of a community of scholars and friends. I hope you will take time throughout the coming months to reflect on all that you have accomplished at Vanderbilt and to think optimistically about your path ahead.

At the beginning of this academic year, I had the opportunity to welcome Vanderbilt’s first-year undergraduate and transfer students during the Founder’s Walk tradition. I urged them to make the most of their time on our campus—by seeking discovery, immersing themselves fully, forging relationships and thinking big. It is a tall order, but it’s one that you—our soon-to-be graduates—have fully exemplified since you arrived at Vanderbilt.

During your time here, I’m sure you have heard me speak about One Vanderbilt—the idea that we are a fully interconnected community. This unified network does not end with Commencement; it begins anew. Whatever you choose to do, and wherever life may take you, Vanderbilt is with you. Even when you’re no longer on campus, you will be fully linked to—and embraced by—our network of more than 140,000 alumni across the globe.

I hope that, as you prepare to leave Vanderbilt, you feel more connected, informed and inspired to pursue your path than ever before. I hope you will continue to lift each other up, to collaborate, to open your minds to new ideas and opportunities. As I think you all know, it is through this spirit of exploration that the best progress is made.  

Thank you for all that you have given to this community. You have so much to be proud of, and I look forward to Commencement in May, when we will celebrate all you have done and all that you will do.


Susan R. Wente

Interim Chancellor and Provost 




Class of 2020,

Congratulations on your forthcoming graduation! Commencement ceremonies honor your personal accomplishments and provide an opportunity to celebrate with your families and friends. It's a well-deserved recognition of your academic achievement, and it marks the beginning of the next exciting phase of your life.

While you may not realize it, you're already an automatic lifetime member of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association and the Chapter in your city–there are never any dues to pay. With 147,000+ of us around the world, the Alumni Association plays an active role in connecting alumni with one another and the university.

I hope you'll take advantage of the many opportunities offered to extend and deepen your lifelong relationship with Vanderbilt, including:

  • Vanderbilt Chapters in forty cities across the U.S. and around the world. Chapters are a great way to plug into the alumni network in your city. Update your address and email in VUconnect to receive invites for game-watching parties, happy hours, networking, community service, wine tastings, tailgates, and educational events with professors and alumni.
  • Register on to keep in touch and network with alumni worldwide as you move into work, volunteer service, or further education.
  • Sign up for the Alumni Discount Program with significant savings on thousands of products and services.
  • Become on Alumni CORPS Interviewer to help recruit new students, volunteer to plan Chapter events, become a VUconnect Career Adviser, or help with your class reunion committee.
  • Explore Alumni Career Resources through VUconnect where you'll find job postings, a resume/cover letter/interview preparation program, career coaching, podcast series, and more. Also, check out the official Vanderbilt Alumni LinkedIn group. 

However, you chose, stay connected–you're the living brand of Vanderbilt, and your fellow Commodores are proud of your achievement. You now join the global Vanderbilt alumni network in 141 countries around the world. Whether you're studying, traveling, looking for work, or finding friends in a new city...think Vanderbilt, because we're there. Think Vanderbilt for life!

Dan Lovinger, '87


Vanderbilt Alumni Association

dan lovinger