Globetrotting career opportunities, unforgettable professors, and an array of helpful services await NYIT’s newest students, NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., said as he addressed the Class of 2015 in Old Westbury and Manhattan.
Good morning, congratulations, and welcome.
On behalf of NYIT’s 14,000 students, 2,000 faculty and staff members, and 89,000 alumni: thank you for choosing NYIT. We chose you from among 7,272 applicants for a seat in our freshman class, so I again congratulate you.
I trust you are excited and happy to be here on your first day of college—a rite of passage in your life that you will mark forever…and separates you from the majority of your age group around the world.
Today you’ve joined a club. Right now about 5% of the people in the American population are studying at some college or university. That’s one of the clubs you’ve just joined. Currently about 39% of Americans hold at least an associates or bachelor’s degree, and if you walk the streets of Manhattan, the percentage is higher, about 60% hold a bachelor’s degree. That is the club that as a student-centered university we will help you join.
Class of 2015, you are a fortunate group. You will learn about and experience some of the greatest ideas and creative expressions in science, business, art, and literature. And you will surely have a few interesting coming-of-age life experiences as well. That’s what college is about.
Here at NYIT, you will also meet many bright minds and unforgettable professors. Don’t be afraid to connect with them soon…they will be among your most important guides to the future…your future.
You are where you should be. NYIT is a global university with its quality hub in our two NY campuses. Do you know that we have great diversity, including students from 44 states and 109 nations at NYIT…and campuses, sites, study abroad programs, and research all over the world? Our great challenge as educators is to equip you to think competitively in a worldwide marketplace where your competitors wake up when you go to sleep and where’s today’s breakthrough becomes yesterday’s news before the this day is over.
Speaking about a global time zones and a world that never sleeps, how many of you have a passport? If not, get one. This is 2011. And we’ll see about getting you to use it while you are at NYIT.
Your passport, along with your NYIT ID, is your ticket to the global interconnectivity that is NYIT. After your freshman or sophomore year, you might want to consider taking some classes at one of our other campuses. Or enjoy a shorter experiential learning experience over spring break or during the summer.
My point is: you can’t get there – and many other places -- without being here – in college. My guess is that even as you are starting your studies, your parents are already uttering that four-letter word: J-O-B-S.
Let me reassure you: NYIT graduates have an exceptional record of employment in their professions shortly after graduation. Because at NYIT, we graduate professionals from our highly rated schools and colleges of architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. And because an information-rich, digitally-saturated society puts a premium on people who can synthesize information from many sources and who have developed the ability to think critically, with breadth, depth, and insight about the world around you.
As someone who sat where you are sitting – well, more than a few years ago – I cannot begin to tell you where my education has taken me and how much it has allowed me to enjoy a rich life. My college education taught me the importance of experiencing the world, and the need to be open to unexpected experiences. In fact, on one of my journeys, I met a French woman on a bus in Istanbul. She became my wife and life's companion. Surprised me, and neither of us could have predicted where we are today or doing what we have done. Amazing. No doubt your future will be filled with surprises and unanticipated opportunities.
You can draw inspiration from many NYIT alumni who are making an impact on society:
Patricia Galloway, a 1984 graduate, could not have envisioned running an engineering firm with projects in 100 countries, ranging from building a bridge in Hong Kong to enlarging the Panama Canal.
Robert Russo, a 1969 graduate, did not imagine he’d create the processor for the iPad.
Victor Lopez, a 1970 graduate, had no idea he’d go from preparing tax returns for John Lennon and Paul Simon to becoming an Anglican Catholic priest and would celebrate his 62nd birthday during a medical mission to Haiti.
Jim Geoghan, a 1969 graduate, didn’t know he’d be creating Disney’s hit show, “Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”
Kirk Stewart, who graduated just three years ago, never dreamed he’d be plucked from an office job to become a Harlem Globetrotter. Now known as “Zeus,” he stopped by a few months ago, fresh from playing in Greece and Germany.
Okay, so we don’t expect you to dunk and throw half-court shots around the world, but we know from experience that many of you will be globetrotters of a different sort, embarking on career journeys across oceans.
In these opening weeks of your college years, everyone is going to give you advice— your relatives, your advisors, your professors. And at every campus, some sage old college administrator—that would be me—is imparting hard-earned wisdom upon the Class of 2015. Let me share several guidelines:
1. Work hard—especially your first eight weeks.
2. Make new friends and have fun.
3. Understand that almost everyone has at least one rough semester, largely imposed from circumstances outside the university. You will get through it, so don’t get discouraged—it’s part of your real-world experience.
4. Build up your self-confidence. It’s one of the most important qualities tied to success. And if we accepted you at NYIT, we believe you have the ability to succeed.
5. Learn to ask for help—it’s here in the Student Solutions Center, Learning Center, Wellness Center, Career Services, your academic departments, and of course, Campus Life. They all not only want to help—they are getting paid for it. Take advantage of these opportunities…and make their day.
6. Graduate. That’s my most important and basic piece of advice. Graduate as quickly as you reasonably can. Graduate.
And here are two more bits of advice.
7. Hit the ground running with your plans at NYIT, but don’t be in too much of a hurry to do it all at once. Yes, but during your time here, do try to do it all…join a club or activity, attend an athletic event, take at least one internship, get to know your professors and advisors, partake in a research project, and more. By adding the sum total of all these experiences, you see the immense value of an NYIT education.
And… 8. Don’t accept what I or any of your professors or advisors say on surface value alone. Grow a level of healthy skepticism. Challenge ideas thoughtfully. That trait will serve you well for years to come.
Class of 2015, you are beginning your college careers amid a vast sea of information, opportunity, and change that is unprecedented in human history. You are the most electronically connected generation in history. You won’t be shocked to learn that 51% of college students spend more than 15 hours a week on the Internet … maybe you already spend more time than that…I generally do.
Back in the spring, when I addressed our most recent graduates, I made a glib remark that I had just gotten a new iPad. I wondered: could Angry Birds be in my future? Well, the answer is yes. I downloaded the game this summer and played it – as a professional responsibility. And I started thinking about how this game - the most popular app around…played by 200 million people each day – could help all of us think about the way you and your friends learn.
While you’re playing Angry Birds, you prove you can concentrate and focus for long periods, like a challenge, and you enjoy the reward of getting to the next level, right? And with Angry Birds, you also get timely feedback that keeps you engaged. You can go online and get help from various experts if you’re having trouble getting to the next level.
A couple of weeks ago, I was the United States delegate to a forum of college presidents held in China. On my long flight aboard Air China, I pulled out my iPad and put in a session with Angry Birds, trying to move to a level of true accomplishment. The head flight attendant walked by and saw me playing. The next thing I know, she is kneeling in the aisle, coaching me, then showing me, then alternating turns with me. She was good. It turned out that every member of the staff on board played the game. What a world!
With her teaching and coaching, I improved significantly over a shared hour when everyone else was sleeping. It reminded me of the essential role that our faculty has in helping you be all you can be.
So, if all goes well, you should join the ranks of employable college graduates around 10: 49 a.m. on a glorious Sunday in May, 2015. Now, take a moment to set your Smartphone calendar, and start the countdown.
Finally, I want to ask one favor of you: wave or say hello when you see me on campus. You are why I am here.