Before an audience of more than 7,500 gathered at its Old Westbury campus, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) celebrated its 54th Commencement, a global event saluting 2,790 graduates from throughout the United States and 100 countries. Forty-seven percent of students earned undergraduate degrees; 53 percent earned graduate, medical, professional, or postgraduate degrees.
NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., conferred the degrees. In his commencement address, he noted that we live in a world where change is the only constant; a world in which transformations, disruptions, evolutions, and revolutions abound. But, he assured the graduates, “you can and will thrive in the midst of change. As a graduate of NYIT you have what it takes to meet changes large and small with the grace, imagination, confidence, and competence required to succeed in the 21st century world.” He added that to keep the upper hand on change takes preparation, passion, and progress, a theme carried throughout the address.
Students from NYIT campuses in Old Westbury, Manhattan, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates, and online attended the ceremony, which was webcast live around the world.
President Guiliano conferred honorary degrees upon Susan Sobbott, president of global corporate payments at American Express, who is an avid supporter of small and midsized companies and a leading advocate for women in business; and Gail Wilensky, Ph.D., an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation, whose efforts over the past three decades have focused on driving healthcare reform and improving healthcare for current and former members of the military. Wilensky also will deliver an address on May 18 to 283 medical students at the 34th hooding ceremony of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.
NYIT student marshals Steavian Sampson (West Palm Beach, Fla., B.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Harkaran S. Rana (Fort Lee. N.J., B.S./D.O., Life Sciences) assisted in the hooding of the honorary degree recipients.
Anne-Marie Gallo, the Class of 2015 student orator (Nairobi, Kenya) who earned a B.A. in English and is an aspiring journalist, shared that before NYIT, she was focused on getting a degree, rather than learning. “But NYIT changed all that,” she said. “I learned that it’s savoring the moment, savoring learning, that really is what matters. I know at graduation I’m expected to say 'so let’s go out and change the world,' but I don’t think that’s what changes the world. I believe if I go out and learn and do the little things, and you go out and learn and do the little things, slowly but surely, the world will change."
Following the main commencement ceremony, students were individually recognized at ceremonies for the School of Architecture and Design; School of Education; School of Engineering and Computing Sciences; School of Health Professions; School of Management; and College of Arts and Sciences.