Making ILR Proud

ILR School graduates its 69th class
ILR Graduation 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015

Behind each of the 355 undergraduate and advanced ILR degrees conferred Sunday lives a story.

Nicole Smart MPS/NYC ’15 immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and works as a legal coordinator facilitating the player grievance procedure for the National Football League.

Her mom, a retired nursing aide, and her dad, a retired Metropolitan Transit Authority bus driver, were union members. Nicole Smart is the first in her family to earn a master’s degree

“This is a very big deal. I’m going to make ILR proud,” she said Sunday between the morning university commencement and the afternoon ILR graduation.

Catherine O’Doherty ’07 MPS/NYC ’15 returned to Lynah Rink this past weekend to pick up her second ILR degree in eight years.

“I came back. Put that in the storybooks.”

The rationale, O’Doherty said, is simple.

“Cornell is the best learning institution in the world,” said O’Doherty, who works as a paralegal for an investment firm in SoHo.

Joyce Ling MPS/NYC ’15 studied human development as a Binghamton University undergraduate and has learned human resources “from the ground up” as an HR generalist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

What she has learned on Saturdays through ILR’s part-time Master’s of Professional Studies program in New York about collective bargaining and other workplace disciplines is sometimes put into practice on the job in a matter of days, Ling said.

Under and around a big white tent set up in ILR’s upper courtyard Sunday, people savored glorious sunshine, chilled sodas, sandwiches and the promise imparted by fresh academic degrees.

Darren Liu MILR ’15, the eldest of three children, was joined at graduation by his parents, Julie and Tie Liu of San Francisco.

“We are very excited,” his mother said, smiling.