As I walked around campus these past two weeks, it has been thrilling to see our sea of new faces. The start of a new school year is always filled with exciting novelty – new courses to take, new faculty members to welcome and, of course, a new cohort of inspiring students beginning their Fletcher journeys.

At the start of each new academic year, we like to honor our new students with a Convocation ceremony kicking off their Fletcher careers. Every year, I’m delighted to share in their excitement for what lies ahead, take a moment to recognize the impressive and diverse paths that brought them here, and join them in looking forward to the journey that lies before them.

For this year’s Convocation, we welcomed back one of our own, Reeta Roy (F89), who earned her MALD at Fletcher and now serves as President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. Roy returned to campus to give the keynote address at Convocation and to accept the Class of 1947 Award; an award that is given annually to a mid-to-late career professional alum who lives out Fletcher’s mission and ideals in life and career.

Reeta is an outstanding example of a Fletcher alumna who went on to do phenomenal things. After graduating, she briefly worked for the UN before quickly reevaluating her path and going on to build a corporate career that has made a profound impact on the world.

At the Mastercard Foundation, Reeta helps seek solutions to problems such as a crumbling education systems, lack of skills training for stable and formal employment, and the issues of little-to-no access to basic financial services in Africa. During her tenure as President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, the Foundation has donated almost US$2.1 billion to education, skills training and financial inclusion programs.

In her work, Reeta regularly calls on the tools and skills she acquired at Fletcher, and she explained as much in her Convocation keynote last Friday: “This institution, its values, the education that you will receive, have never been more relevant. It is never more needed than during times like these — times of uncertainty.” It’s a sentiment I share deeply, and I’m greatly appreciative of her perspective and willingness to return to her Fletcher family to remind us of why we’re here, doing what we do each and every day.

The world is certainly in a complex state right now, and Fletcher graduates are perfectly poised to tackle the problems of our day. It’s times like these that make or break people, but Fletcher graduates have always pursued inspiring paths, and Reeta and I believe they will continue to do so.

To wrap up this week, I’ll leave you with one of her quotes that so aptly sums up what we’re trying to instill in our students here, at Fletcher: “Complexity can either divide us or it can unify us, but I believe it calls for the best in us. [It calls for us] to stand firm in what we believe — but also be agile — to have the courage to lead where others are failing, to see opportunity in a global world and to pursue the change we want to see.”

I urge you, with Reeta’s message in mind (which you can watch in full, below), to find hope, inspiration, and – yes! – a little excitement to commence the academic year ahead.

Onwards and upwards, and as always, thank you for reading.

Comments are closed.