New York Institute of Technology Salutes the Class of 2019 at 58th Commencement

May 19, 2019

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 for graduation from throughout the United States and 64 countries, 36 percent of whom are candidates 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 Old Westbury, as well as from Vancouver, British Columbia, other program locations, and online, attended the ceremony, which was webcast live. President Henry C. “Hank” Foley conferred the degrees during today’s ceremony.

"I ask that you pledge to become the doers, makers, and innovators of tomorrow," Foley 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 during the ceremony.

Silva 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, a candidate for a Master of Arts degree in Teaching-Social Studies who lives in Deer Park, N.Y., sang the national anthem. The Class of 2019 student orator, Gabrielle Redding, from Sparta, N.J., is a Bachelor of Architecture degree candidate and in September will attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

“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.”

Both Redding and Williamson assisted in hooding Silva as the honorary degree recipient.

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. Tomorrow, 305 medical students will graduate from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, earning a D.O. degree at its 38th hooding ceremony.

About New York Institute of Technology

New York Institute of Technology offers 90 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs in more than 50 fields of study, including computer science, data, and cybersecurity; biology and biomedical studies; architecture and design; engineering; health professions and medicine; IT and digital technologies; management; communications and marketing; education and counseling; and energy and sustainability. A nonprofit, independent, private, and nonsectarian institute of higher education, New York Institute of Technology welcomes more than 9,000 students worldwide. The university has campuses in New York City (Manhattan) and Long Island (Old Westbury), New York; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as programs around the world.

New York Institute of Technology embraces its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, give all qualified students access to opportunity, and support research and scholarship that benefit the larger world. More than 100,000 alumni comprise an engaged network of doers, makers, and innovators prepared to change the world, solve 21st-century challenges, and reinvent the future.

Media Contact

Elizabeth Sullivan