President Yang, honorable representatives from Jiangsu Provincial Education Department, honored guests, colleagues, and especially our newest students, welcome to the opening of the NYIT program in this new academic year, Good morning. I am once again delighted to be here.
Members of the class of 2014, on behalf of NYIT’s 15,000 students, and 2,000 faculty and staff at our campuses throughout the world, thank you for choosing NYIT-Nanjing and thank you all of the members of Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications and all of the provincial and city government officials who have helped us in establishing this unique venture—the first and today the most successful U.S. undergraduate campus program in China and where our select students have the opportunity to earn a distinguished degree from NUPT and another from NYIT, setting them apart and giving them a competitive advantage over their many contemporaries also entering college in China today.
Together here today, we open NYIT’s fourth historic year here in Nanjing. We now have more than 1,100 students enrolled in this NYIT-Nanjing program including more than 337 new students.
This year, NYIT worldwide has students from nearly 50 states and a record 106 nations, including some spending the semester here in Nanjing—an incredibly diverse community in which to immerse yourself face-to-face or through NYIT’s robust online tools and networking. Whether you’re studying communications, business, or engineering, you are an important part of the NYIT community.
Members of the class of 2014, in the coming weeks and years, 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-Nanjing and perhaps at NYIT-New York, 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.
I am sure you know that in the knowledge-based economy in which we live, a college degree has become almost a requirement for a successful professional life. Today’s college graduates will earn multiples over non-college graduates during their lifetimes.
But there’s more. Did you know other benefits of a college degree include a longer lifespan… greater overall job satisfaction …lower unemployment rate... and that those who graduate from college are even better community leaders and members of society?
In these opening weeks of your college years, everyone is going to give you advice—your relatives, your advisors, your professors. Here you experience an American-style education, with small classes, inquiry-based learning, discourse, and experiential learning with hands-on market skills. And all across America, some sage old college administrator—that would be me—is imparting hard-earned wisdom upon the Class of 2014 at large. Let’s join the club:
1. Work hard—especially your first eight weeks.
2. Make new friends and have fun. Consider spending a semester at another NYIT campus.
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, we believe you have the ability to succeed.
5. Learn to ask for help from fellow students, professors and staff. They are there to help you. Take advantage of these opportunities…and make their day.
6. 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. But while you are here, do plan to do it all…join a club or activity, attend an athletic event, study at one of our global campuses for a semester, take at least one internship, get to know your professors and advisors, and partake in a research project, and more. By adding the sum total of all these experiences, you can begin to see the value of an NYIT education.
7. 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 before embracing them. That trait will serve you well at NYIT and in your personal and professional lives for years to come.
8. Graduate. That’s my most important and basic piece of advice. Graduate as quickly as you reasonably can. Graduate.
I want you to remember two dates: May 21, 2014 and on or about June 18, 2014. You are invited to join me on May 21st in New York and/or June 18th in Nanjing to celebrate your graduation with an American university degree from NYIT.
Let me ask you a question. There are 337 new students here, freshmen we call them or frosh, whether you are a man or a woman. That means the odds of one of you having a birthday today is 60 percent. Two of you: 36 percent Three of you: 22 percent. Question: Is it your birthday today? Raise your hand.
To all of you: Happy birthday. And you must have an NYIT present.
In addition to that little gift, we at NYIT-Nanjing and NYIT-New York are going to give you the tools and knowledge to succeed in what is a fast-changing society.
As incoming freshmen and millennials, you are the most electronically connected generation in history. Your generation has seamlessly integrated all facets of technology into your lives, and you have never known life without a cell phone, laptop, or even karaoke machines. You won’t be surprised at all about the fact that in China, 92% of the 243 million broadband consumers over 13 years of age in China contribute to social media such as Twitter, Facebook, renren, and QQ. The way you use new technology to communicate—texting, instant messaging, blogging, uploading photos and videos—is reshaping how we at NYIT teach and learn.
Technology has allowed knowledge to explode at a frenetic pace. Most of what we know today did not exist when we were born, and most of what you will need to know during your careers does not exist yet. Imagine that. Indeed, the past 10 or 20 years has taught us that many of the prime, professional careers in which our current students will be employed do not now exist.
As we meet today, some new technology, gadget, maybe the next Google or Baidu is being developed. At NYIT, we champion and challenge our students to be innovators.
And as a global university, we give you, our students, the confidence, connections, and skills necessary to weather an increasingly competitive world. We understand the importance of what is known as knowledge capital in today’s workplace and pledge to give you this currency.
We already know that you are poised to conquer this global marketplace. Getting into college alone is difficult…especially here in China. Although there are 6.5 million seats for incoming students in China’s universities, the competition, as you know, is steep…you were among the 10 million youth who took the national college entrance exam in June.
So, we congratulate you for making it here, and I trust that you will take advantage of all that NYIT has to offer you. When I meet our Nanjing students in New York, I tell them, “You are going to improve your American-style English very quickly, and that is a very good thing. That and an American degree will serve as a great passport to the global economy and jobs.”
I like to tell our students that our name, New York Institute of Technology, is an extraordinary calling card on the global landscape.
New York, our first name, is among the world’s capitals of business, finance, and policy making. As you know, it is home to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, major cultural venues, the United Nations, and the heart and soul of major publishing and media houses…as well as professional sports organizations including the N.B.A. Perhaps you have heard of: the Yankees? The Knicks? Multibillion-dollar enterprises.
Fifty-six of the world’s largest companies have headquarters in New York. NYIT is at the heart of this energy and opportunity.
So, NYIT provides the golden key to the world through our location, of course, but also because of our last name, technology. New York and technology are part of our fabric. You could say it’s in our D.N.A. And technology serves the world well—it provides access to information, communication, and solutions to the world’s largest challenges ranging from economic to environmental. Technology opens the door to the knowledge capital I mentioned before.
Here is a video that might provide more insight into why NYIT is a special place to be and how we join together as one university, and one community.
You and I are living through a difficult economic period. And currently more than a quarter of the Class of 2010 has yet to find work. We at NYIT are not going to let that happen to you, our Class of 2014. Your job hunt will not come as a shock.
Joining me from New York is NYIT’s Dean of Career Services John Hyde, and the distance we traveled from NYIT’s Manhattan campus is exactly 12,704.7 kilometers or 7,894 miles. And while the physical distance between our campuses will never change, I can tell you first-hand that bridging that gap is becoming easier every day thanks to technology…be it a Boeing 777-200 or an iPhone 4.
The NYIT core curriculum that will engage your minds tomorrow and the next four years is an updated solution for addressing the skills that all employers today are looking for -- skills in communications, literacy, critical and analytical thinking, an interdisciplinary mindset, ethical and civic engagement, a global perspective, and knowledge of the nature and process of the arts and sciences.. Skills that will help you get a job at graduation. But perhaps even more important in today’s competitive marketplace, these skills will help you keep a job.
One reason that Dean Hyde is here is to establish a career services office in Nanjing to support you and our alumni. It will include a full-time professional to assist you in person and online in your search for a professional position. You already have people in New York doing that for you. This effort will also have an alumni component, so that career services and other benefits will be available to you after graduation.
NYIT already has more than 1,000 alumni here in China, including nearly 650 who have earned an M.B.A. That number, which will increase rapidly, also includes alumni working in China who studied with us in New York. We will be reaching out to them to help and hire NYIT graduates like you will be.
Our programs have attracted movers and shakers in top firms and government agencies in China including Wan Hong, vice president of Jiangling Auto Co., the largest business firm in the Jiangxi Province, and Shenglai Chen, president of the Center for the Shanghai International Arts Festival.
NYIT’s alumni also include Chen Ning-ning, the so-called “Iron Princess,” one of the wealthiest women in China who earned her undergraduate degree at NYIT in 1994.
The most recent alumni successes began right here in Nanjing. I am pleased to tell you that the first fourteen NYIT-Nanjing students who graduated this past May in New York, all were either accepted into prestigious graduate programs in America, often with scholarships, or accepted good business positions at companies in China or the U.S. And they are just the beginning.
When you graduate from NYIT, you will be joining an impressive network of 85,000 alumni around the world, many working as leaders at the world’s best-known companies, adding even further to the value of the education you earned here.
I look forward to working together to bring what we have built to the next level. I look forward to welcoming more of you to NYIT in New York. We may be half a world away, but our home is your home.
So, I close by saying as you embark on your undergraduate years here, I urge you to once again study hard and take advantage of a global education, and what is truly the best of all worlds.