On May 19, nearly 7,000 graduates, families, and friends gathered at New York Institute of Technology’s Long Island campus to celebrate its 58th annual commencement. The event saluted 2,769 candidates from throughout the United States and 64 countries, 36 percent of whom are earning undergraduate degrees and the remainder earning graduate, medical, professional, or post-graduate degrees.
Students from the university’s campuses in New York City and Long Island, as well as from Vancouver, British Columbia, other program locations, and online, attended the ceremony.
“I ask that you pledge to become the doers, makers, and innovators of tomorrow,” President Hank Foley, Ph.D., told the graduates. “Your experiences here will help guide others to their futures, and I call on you to reach a hand back to those who follow you. This is how we can continue to reinvent the future together.”
Foley conferred an honorary degree upon Kevin D. Silva, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Voya Financial, Inc. Silva, also the chairperson of the NYIT Board of Trustees, received a Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) and delivered an inspiring keynote address.
He encouraged the graduates to think about success, noting that the path to having a great fortune is through having a positive effect on the lives of others. Further, he challenged them to come up with their own definition of success, one that is more than material. He said, “Today, I would like to share with you five factors that can accelerate your career if you master them, and conversely, will certainly derail your career if you don’t.” Silva’s advice for the Class of 2019:
- Develop your ability to get along with people.
- Learn how to fail and rebound.
- Find mentors in life so you don’t have to learn everything yourself firsthand.
- Develop the right life support system, choosing those who will surround you in times of crisis and need.
- Focus on your passion and purpose, not the compensation (that will follow).
Silva is an exceptional supporter of New York Institute of Technology’s students through guidance, mentoring, and the Kevin D. Silva Endowed Presidential Scholarship and Annual Scholarship fund. Additionally, through the generosity of Voya Financial, Silva’s impact is underscored further through the Voya Foundation’s sponsorship of a simulated trading floor on the New York City campus and its current support of the university’s Diversifying STEM Leadership Program. Silva has dedicated time, talent, and treasure to New York Institute of Technology for more than a decade.
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Renee Williamson (M.A. ’19), who is from Deer Park, N.Y., sang the national anthem and assisted in hooding Silva. The Class of 2019 student orator, Gabrielle Redding (B.Arch. ’19), also assisted in hooding Silva as the honorary degree recipient. Redding, from Sparta, N.J., will attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design in September.
“One of the biggest things NYIT taught me is that sometimes in life, it is okay to be humble and ask for help. It’s in those moments when we have the greatest chance to grow,” Redding shared. “Help is a beautiful thing. Never be afraid to ask for it and never be afraid to offer it. Be generous, share what you learned here with others. It can help change someone’s life.”
Following the main commencement event, students were recognized individually at ceremonies for the School of Architecture and Design; College of Engineering and Computing Sciences; School of Health Professions; School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education; School of Management; and College of Arts and Sciences.
In addition, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine’s hooding ceremony for Class of 2019 D.O.s will take place during the morning of May 20. NYIT-Abu Dhabi held its 13th graduation ceremony on May 3 at the InterContinental AbuDhabi, and the NYIT Vocational Independent Program held its commencement ceremony on May 15. NYIT-Vancouver’s graduation takes place May 28 in the Orpheum Theatre.