"You Are Extraordinary"

Graduates are "forever part of the ILR family," Hallock says
Friday, May 29, 2015

Appreciate your education and intellect, and “remember, along with preparedness and privilege comes responsibility,” Kevin F. Hallock, the Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and Joseph R. Rich ’80 Professor, told ILR’s graduating Class of 2015 Sunday.

“Remember, those with whom you work and others are not nearly as fortunate. Treat those who report to you at least as well as you treat those to whom you report,” he said at the school’s diploma ceremony in Lynah Rink.

Hallock discussed two stunning labor market changes that have occurred since 1995 – when graduating seniors were just tots and when Hallock began his career as a professor.  He pointed to declining job seniority and increasing wage inequality as dramatic workplace changes over the past generation.

“Will you be less willing to commit to your employers because you feel your employers are not willing to commit to you?”

“As you move into the management ranks, how expendable will those who report to you be? You have studied these workplace dynamics here at ILR. What classroom lessons will you translate to workplace practice and social policy?”

The Princeton-trained economist reminded students that only at the very top have wages and salaries increased substantially during the past two decades.

Social, professional and educational connections enjoyed by ILR students behoove them to think about those who are not so lucky and about the school network that poises them to do good in the world, the dean told graduates.

“As you ride the next rounds of ups and downs on life’s journey, remember that you are extraordinary and forever part of the ILR family.”

Hallock wrapped up his speech with five items he hopes graduates remember:

  • "Be kind. Help others when you can and be kind to others.
  • Be safe. Don’t do things that are too risky – too many people depend on you or will depend on you.
  • Work hard and work steady.
  • But please, please don’t work too hard. Stop end enjoy your family, loved ones and life. Time is short, so enjoy it. There is so much more to life than occupational achievement.
  • Be thankful. Thank those who got you here and helped you through.”