More than 8,000 students, faculty and staff members, family, and friends gathered at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to celebrate New York Institute of Technology’s 57th commencement, a global event saluting 2,734 graduates from 30 states and 81 countries. Thirty-seven percent of students earned undergraduate degrees; 63 percent earned graduate, medical, professional, or post-graduate degrees.
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. The ceremony was especially momentous for the Class of 2018, the first to graduate under the leadership of NYIT’s fourth president, Henry C. “Hank” Foley, who conferred the degrees during today’s ceremony.
“I ask that you pledge to become the doers, thinkers, and innovators of tomorrow, who also humanize what you do, and as a result, make this world better,” Foley told the graduates. “NYIT’s reputation will be measured in a large part by what you will do with what you have learned here, and how well you do it. So, NYIT’s future and your own future are entwined.”
Foley also conferred an honorary degree upon an NYIT alumna, Carol Silva, who delivered the keynote address. Silva, who was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, is the Emmy Award-winning anchor at News 12 Long Island. A native Long Islander, she graduated magna cum laude from NYIT.
In her keynote address, Silva urged the graduates to create and live their own stories, despite the challenges, rejection, and roadblocks they surely will face. She reminded them they have choices, and to be the kindest version of themselves possible: “Look for the good in yourself, say the good out loud, and say the good out loud to the people around you.”
The Class of 2018 undergraduate student speaker was Maylan Studart (B.F.A., Global and Electronic Journalism; Ipanema, Brazil); and the graduate student speaker was Krishan Wanarajan (M.S., Computer Science; Suva, Fiji). Jacob Miguel (D.O., Osteopathic Medicine; Fall River, Mass.), sang the national anthem.
Maylan Studart was a jockey in Brazil and then in New York until suffering a serious injury that forced her to stop racing and find a new path in life. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the people who gave me a leg up, some of them literally, on the horses! I’m sure every one of you in the Class of 2018 has someone here today who is owed gratitude. Let’s honor them by paying forward every kindness given to us.”
Wanarajan shared with his fellow graduates: “If NYIT has taught me anything besides Computer Science, it’s that we need a lot of courage. The courage to fail; to fail hard and to fail often. Almost every time we’ve failed, it’s because we took a risk, or tried a new approach to solve a problem or an issue.”
As part of the main commencement ceremony, students were individually recognized, representing the School of Architecture and Design; School of Engineering and Computing Sciences; School of Health Professions; School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education; School of Management; and College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to the main commencement ceremony, medical students graduated from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at its 37th hooding ceremony.
The Class of 2018 at NYIT comprised students young and not-so-young; the youngest undergraduate student in this class is 19 years old, the youngest graduate student is 20 years old, and the youngest student earning a D.O. degree this year is 24. The oldest undergraduate student in the Class of 2018 is 69; the oldest graduate student is 65, and the oldest student earning a D.O. degree is 49.