Alumni Offer Advice for 2020 Grads

Columbian College alumni have a message for the Class of 2020: The world has changed—but the future is full of opportunities. They offered advice for recent graduates on resilience and hope.

Campus Tempietto
June 08, 2020

For the Class of 2020, college ended in uncertainty. Upended by the coronavirus pandemic, graduation ceremonies moved online and plans for the future were cast in doubt.

But Columbian College alumni have a message for recent graduates: The world may have changed and challenges will abound—but the future is still full of opportunities. CCAS alumni in a variety of fields, many of whom graduated into their own uncertain circumstances during the 2008-09 financial crisis, offered advice for students on resilience, dreaming big and finding space in their lives for hope:



Jennifer Maher

Jennifer Maher, BA ‘04 (Psychology, Criminal Justice)

CEO, 1776

“Survive, then thrive. It may seem like you are in pure survival mode now, but you will be stronger and more resilient for this experience. (Trust me, I graduated law school right before the Great Recession—I can relate!) You will unlock levels of perseverance and determination you never knew you had, which will enable you to thrive in the near future."


Jamie Bosket

Jamie Bosket, MA ‘08 (Museum Studies)

President & CEO, Virginia Museum of History & Culture

“The world has changed, but that doesn’t mean your aspirations and career plans are lost. It means you need to—as we all must—be nimble, be innovative and be thoughtful. With patience and compassion, be prepared to adjust your next steps, but make sure you don’t stop stepping. Work hard and purposefully to be a part of our collective recovery and growth.”


Anwar Gargash

Anwar Gargash, BA ’81, MA ’84 (Political Science)

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates

“Every generation goes through at least one collective crisis; yours is now clearly defined. With every disruption comes opportunities to learn and grow. What we are experiencing now is extraordinary and will trigger social, political and economic changes across the globe. You are in a position to help make and shape those changes. Cultivate resilience and optimism. These skills were always important—now they are essential. Use the time we have now to think about where you want to be five and 10 years from now. Learn and reflect as you move on, and let these challenges make you wiser and stronger.”


Andrew Springer

Andrew Springer, BA ‘09 (Religion)

Consultant, Voice of America

“Make no mistake, the next couple of years will be tough. But that doesn't mean you should stop charging toward the life you want. Set goals. Think outside the box. Do things that don't scale. Get experience any way you can. Don't take no for an answer. Others see closed doors—be somebody who climbs through open windows. It may not be exactly how you planned it, and it may not happen as quickly as you wanted it, but don't let this virus stop you. This is your one and only life, and remember, fortune favors the bold.”

Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd

NBC News Political Director, Moderator of Meet the Press and Host of MTP Daily

Reena Ninan

Reena Ninan

CBSN Anchor and CBS News Correspondent

Jason Blank

Jason Blank

Chair of the National Council for Arts and Sciences and Partner at Haber Blank, LLP