Office of the President
Office of the President
Greetings, on this wonderful morning! Asalam Alaikum. It is my privilege to be here to celebrate with you and to congratulate the 200 baccalaureate and 75 master’s graduates at NYIT-Bahrain.
Congratulations Class of 2011. Congratulations also to the parents, grandparents, faculty, friends, and loved ones who helped bring you to this point.
I would like to take a moment to thank His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Majesty Khalifah bin Salman Al Khalifa for their support of the education sector.
Graduation ceremonies are particularly important in academia. They involve great rituals and traditions and are highly symbolic. As you probably know, as far back as the 14th century, universities have granted degrees to their students and have sent them off into the world in grand ceremonies wearing robes amid ceremonial music. In America, graduation from college is a big event and celebration marking a rite of passage and entry into a new stage in life for the graduates.
The commencement address is another part of the ritual of graduating: getting sage advice. And I am honored today to provide what I hope are some wise words. Not too many words, of course.
I have been thinking about the shortest graduation speech that can be given. In this age of Twitter, I wrote it:
“Go and prosper! Make us proud! You are the future!”
And that brings me back to you. As a not-for-profit institution of higher learning, New York Institute of Technology does not measure its rewards in terms of money, but rather in the creation of knowledge and human capital. That’s you. With your expanding international engagement and growing motivation to contribute to the global knowledge economy you—our students in Bahrain—are the talent the world is seeking, and that is our greatest reward.
You are graduating from a university that is committed to educating a new generation equipped to succeed in the global marketplace. And our commitment to you does not end with this commencement, this new beginning. Graduates, we hope NYIT will be one of your homes for the rest of your lives. No matter where you will live or work, we are here for you, a 21st-century networked community of students, faculty, programs and alumni spanning the globe, physically and virtually.
You chose the right university at the right time. I want to congratulate you on making a terrific investment… an investment in yourself. It’s one that will pay rich dividends – financial and otherwise – throughout your life.
Commencements are celebrations because they signal a transition to a new journey. Graduates: as new entrants in the workplace, you will find yourselves in the most inclusive economy ever, developing strategies and products that are enriched by human differences.
In this environment, individuals with broad cultural fluency and a global mindset will have a clear competitive advantage. The cross-border nature of business has created a demand for new kinds of jobs with an international reach. That’s why our curriculum is continually refreshed by our gifted faculty.
Here, as our students, you learned to express ideas through interior design, tell stories visually through computer graphics, safeguard the information of individuals and corporations through network security, manage businesses with an eye towards entrepreneurship, and transform information with computer science.
My hope for your new journey is that you apply the perspective, knowledge, and skills that you have acquired with us—in our classrooms, hallways, laboratories, studios, and online—to a global landscape.
Solve—through technology and compassion—problems that exist on a global scale.
Some of you joined us in New York last month to participate in commencement ceremonies there. As NYIT students, you know that technology has made the world smaller. Permit me to present a sample of our NYIT New York experience to all of you.
Watching that video here TODAY with our newest graduates at NYIT-Bahrain, it’s amazing to think that just shy of 50 years ago, our Old Westbury campus—where Commencement was held—was little more than a blueprint. Indeed, our global university has grown a great deal, adapting itself to a world that is always evolving.
The NYIT degree that I will confer on you is a degree respected the world over. It is your business passport to the 21st-century global economy. It works in every country in the world. NYIT has graduates the world over and currently educates students from 106 nations—that means you have had classmates in 106 countries and you are now part of an international network of 89,000 NYIT alumni. Use your NYIT passport well.
What I have learned is that life is lived in episodes or stages. There will be many more passages in your personal and professional lives. Indeed, labor economists predict that many of you will change careers – not jobs, but careers – five times on average. Some of those careers won’t even exist until ten or twenty years from now.
So you cannot plan your life based on how things will be in ten years. Some things will remain constant: family, friends, and bills to pay. But if you are too fixed on a distant goal, you’ll miss opportunities today… and in the Near Tomorrow.
It was Bill Gates who noted that we tend to often overestimate changes that will take place in the next few years, but underestimate the changes that will occur in the next ten.
As always, technology is a powerful force behind change. And the speed of change in technology today is breathtaking and often disorienting.
We want you to be able to invent and reinvent yourselves.
No matter how we define the “hot job” of the year, in an information-rich, digitally-saturated society, there will be a premium for people who have the training and the ability to synthesize information from many sources. And after studying at NYIT, those skills are second nature to you.
We can only imagine what the coming decades will bring. Where there are vast unknowns, there are vast opportunities. You cannot predict all of the opportunities that will come your way. You cannot envision the changes that will shape your lives in the years ahead.
Be flexible. Be nimble. Keep dreaming about the distant future, but prepare for the Near Tomorrow.
And now, let me conclude with a few traditional guidelines. When you leave here today, always remember to:
Think deeply, speak gently, love much, laugh often, work hard, give freely, pay promptly… and be kind.
Congratulations and best wishes to you, the NYIT Class of 2011. Mabrouk!