President Guiliano addressed the Class of 2016 on Sept. 4 at the university's campuses in Manhattan and Old Westbury, N.Y. He told new students that an NYIT ID card is “your ticket to the global interconnectivity that is this university.”
Good morning and welcome. Congratulations on joining the NYIT family.
On behalf of our 14,000 students, 2,000 faculty and staff members, and 92,000 alumni worldwide, thank you for choosing NYIT. You can and should expect good teachers, good careers, and good value from us.
The Class of 2016. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
You are a hard-working and intelligent group. A university is known by the students it admits, and your SAT scores are higher than last year's freshman class, as are your GPAs. You also are a fortunate group. At NYIT, you will be exposed to big ideas, engaging activities, and extra-curricular experiences. These include internships, study abroad opportunities, and hands-on learning outside of the classroom, in addition to traditional curriculum in your core area of study.
At the same time, you'll likely live through some interesting coming-of-age moments; they're part of what college is all about. And speaking of what college is about, here's a quick glimpse of what an NYIT student might encounter on a day-to-day basis, according to some television ads we ran recently on American Idol:
Do we have any American Idol fans here? Did any of you see these ads?
NYIT is a model 21st-century global university offering 90 degree programs in more than 50 fields of study. With "technology" as its last name, NYIT has the opportunity, and responsibility, to uniquely and effectively prepare you, our students, for the changing world in which we live.
Today, our campuses around the world are purposeful communities—places where academia, commerce, innovation, and culture combine to help prepare you for careers in the fast-paced, global knowledge economy. "Reach out and touch someone" was an advertising slogan for an AT&T predecessor, which, some of us, believe it or not, are old enough to remember ... I mention this because it is good advice. I encourage you to make connections with your new classmates, and other students; with the faculty, staff, and advisors who are here to assist you; as well as with the broader NYIT community. It will serve you well and enhance your experience here, academically and otherwise.
As you may have heard, especially during the often complex and confusing time you just went through called "looking at colleges" - some very bright minds contend that the university as we know it is an anachronism - dreamed up when information, knowledge - even literacy itself - were hard to come by. They say that universities were founded on the idea that knowledge was scarce - residing in books and the minds of great thinkers - and that the purpose of an educational institution was to connect students to those resources.
Of course today, scarcity of knowledge is no longer the issue. In fact, access to information is constant. Many of you may routinely play Words with Friends, Angry Birds or chat on Facebook with people from Albania to Zambia. Though, hopefully not at this particular moment!
In just 19 years since it was developed, about a third of the world uses the Internet. Imagine, the Internet is older than most of us … well, most of you, anyway. You have experienced the fastest acceptance of new technology ever, thanks largely to handheld devices, where leapfrogging technologies put connectivity and knowledge into the hands of people who may not even have access to life's basics. It is sobering that some people have easier access to Pandora than to clean drinking water.
Providing information is no longer the heart of a successful university's mission.
Instead, a good university is what I like to call an idea incubator, the zone of exploration where we promote new ideas, accept failure, reward creativity, breed innovation, and foster independent learning. Our job is to provide you, our students, with access to knowledge and opportunity, to educate and help prepare you for meaningful careers. We must provide you with the skills to assess and properly use the information you are gaining, and to leverage technology as a tool for the greater good. This is what you can and should expect from a college education at NYIT.
As you know, NYIT is a global university with New York campuses as our hub, and with campuses, academic partners, dual-degree programs, and study abroad opportunities all over the world. We offer the same core curriculum on all campuses, so there's no need to worry about losing progress toward your degree if you take classes at another of our campuses. You also can travel as part of your undergraduate NYIT experience. Just find an upper-class student who recently traveled to Paris, Haiti, Peru, Ghana, El Salvador, or elsewhere for a first-hand account.
I often tell graduating students that their NYIT degree is their passport to the world. To you as freshmen, I say that your NYIT ID is your ticket to the global interconnectivity that is this university. What is extra special about NYIT is that we have students from about 50 states and 100 nations studying with us this fall. NYIT literally is putting its feet on the street—to create a single, global community of learners, of networked, bright people of all ages and backgrounds, and of which you are now a part. Think about the classmates you will encounter and form friendships with.
This is why NYIT as a center of higher learning has such an important role to play in your life. Certainly, you will need to know your coursework material, but just as important, you'll have to be culturally and intellectually savvy and able to integrate input from many sources. Classrooms are still as essential as remote learning. But the way of the future is not sitting alone at a computer or simply listening to lectures. Timely feedback, frequent collaboration, active engagement, and rich give-and-take are what you can expect here. They are also what will be expected of you in the world after college. Your NYIT education will help prepare you for this.
But first, to get there, you have to be here, in college. And without trying to rush you … although you have been in college for a few hours already ... it is never too early to think about visiting our Office of Career Services. Let me be the first to assure you … NYIT graduates have an excellent record of employment in their professions shortly after graduation.
Every year, we read about the current "hot jobs" or fields of the future. Many are in the health care and technology-related fields, so you are in the right place at NYIT. Still, no matter how we define the hot job, know this: an information-rich, ever-connected society puts a premium on people who can synthesize information from many sources. After four years at NYIT, those skills will be well honed. So will your ability to think critically about the world around you.
A college degree and an advanced degree are the single greatest financial investments you can make. And let's not forget those non-financial returns on your investment, those about being happier, healthier, and more in synch with society's responsibilities—and you'll live longer, as data suggests that college graduates do.
Some new experiences and opportunities you can explore at NYIT include:
Our School of Management unveiled a new classroom in Manhattan designed to simulate the real-world pace of a stock trading room, complete with live video feeds and ticker reports.
The NYIT Auditorium on Broadway, on our Manhattan campus, is a premier event space that hosts lectures, film previews and other events. Many are open to students, such as a Cyber Security conference being held later this month; we encourage you to attend. Sometimes, the events feature big names like Elijah Wood or Adrian Grenier.
Shortly we will open newly renovated and expanded student activities facilities in both Manhattan and Old Westbury.
A new "Civility Campaign" is being rolled out on both New York campuses. Led by a committee of students, staff, and faculty, the goal is to ensure our community is always welcoming and safe for all members through honest, intellectual, and respectful dialogue. Now, if only world leaders would take a cue from this …
Also, a service component is being introduced in our first-year interdisciplinary studies course. You'll have the opportunity to work with community partners on projects that help organizations improve their own technological assets. In the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, for example, one class will partner with an elementary school in Harlem to promote studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
What else can you expect from college? Well, you can and should expect the unexpected.
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 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. No doubt your future will be filled with surprises and unanticipated opportunities.
Even now, each new day is filled with the unexpected. I have been President of NYIT for 13 years, so you'd think there would be no more surprises. But, the life of a college president is not as an easy mission, as I was reminded on a trip from the Manhattan campus to Old Westbury last week. Take a look:
You can also draw inspiration from NYIT alumni who are making an impact on the world, who likely could not have envisioned themselves where they are now. Consider:
Courtney Cook Stephenson, NYCOM Class of 1997, is one of only 38 doctors in the U.S. skilled in performing a non-invasive surgery used to treat a prenatal life-threatening abnormality.
Marc Gallo, Class of 1992, is founder and CEO of Studio Devil, which uses custom-designed computer algorithms to replicate the harmonic frequencies of tube amps used by professional guitarists. He also designed an app that allows guitarists to play through their iPhone and listen over headphones.
Rick Carini, Class of 1987, is a senior technologist at Razer, a manufacturer of high-end computer keyboards, mice, and other accessories for video game enthusiasts.
Robert Russo, Class of 1969, created the processor for the iPad.
Jim Geoghan, Class of 1969, created Disney's hit show, "Suite Life of Zack and Cody."
And there are many more success stories like this.
Another thing you can expect—and likely already are experiencing as you begin your college years, is that everyone is giving you advice—your relatives, your advisors, your professors. And, some sage old college administrator—that would be me—is imparting hard-earned wisdom upon the Class of 2016. For example:
Work hard—especially your first several weeks.
Make new friends and have fun.
Understand that almost everyone has at least one rough semester. You will get through it, so don't get discouraged—it's part of your real-world experience.
Build your confidence. It's one of the most important qualities tied to success. And we accepted you at NYIT, so we believe you have the ability to succeed.
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 want to help-take advantage of these opportunities…and make their day.
Graduate. As quickly as you reasonably can. That's my most important and basic piece of advice. Did you know that according to the U.S. government, less than 40 percent of full-time college students graduate in four years? It is a sobering statistic, and let's all do everything we can to far exceed this level.
And just when you thought I was done, here are two more bits of advice:
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, during your time here, do try to do it all ... join a club or activity, attend Bears athletic events, study at one of our global campuses for a semester, 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 will see the immense value from an NYIT education. And...
Don't accept what I, any of your professors, or advisors say at face value alone. Grow a healthy level of skepticism. Challenge ideas thoughtfully. As Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning." That trait will serve you well at NYIT and in your personal and professional lives for years to come.
So, what else can you expect at NYIT? Well, if all goes well, you should expect to join the ranks of sought-after college graduates on a beautiful Sunday morning in Old Westbury in late May, 2016. Get Siri to remind you of that date, only four short years away...
Challenge us—engage with us. We are a student-centered university where we believe there is no such thing as being interrupted by a student. Hopefully it won't be at 4 a.m., though...
Finally, I look forward to seeing you on campus. And please wave or say hello when you see me—you are why I am here.