On Oct. 11, NYIT President Edward Guiliano and NUPT President Yang Zhen welcomed 324 freshmen to the NYIT-Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications dual degree program in Nanjing, China. The two presidents were joined by faculty and staff from NYIT and NUPT.
The opening ceremony was chaired by NUPT College of Overseas Education Chairman Ding Jing. Also in attendance were NYIT Campus Dean and Executive Director Monique Taylor and Associate Dean Keh Kwek, and NUPT College of Overseas Education Vice Chairman Zhong Kai and Associate Dean Fang Zongxiang. Assistant Professor Anna Moncovich, a member of the Department of English, delivered remarks to students on behalf of the faculty. Cui Mutian delivered the student address.
Following are remarks delivered by President Guiliano:
President Yang, colleagues, and especially our newest students:
Welcome to the opening of NYIT in this new academic year. I am again delighted to be here.
On behalf of our 14,000 students, 3,600 faculty and staff members at our campuses throughout the world, and 92,000 alumni worldwide, thank you for choosing NYIT-Nanjing.
Thank you also to the members of Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and to the provincial and city government officials who helped us establish the most successful joint U.S. undergraduate program in China. We are very proud of our strong, cooperative relationships with Chinese officials and others committed to excellence in higher education. In fact, just two months ago in New York, we were honored to host a delegation from the Ministry of Education of China led by Senior Counselor Madame Wang Liying, who joined us to tour campus and discuss the administration of higher education institutions.
Class of 2016, my speech this morning includes many words. You may not be able to follow them all now, but you will before you graduate, that we promise.
Our first-rate students –you – have the opportunity to earn a distinguished degree from NUPT and another from NYIT. That gives you a competitive advantage over others entering college in China. More than 9 million of you took college entrance exams in 2012. The competition was steep—fewer than 7 million seats were available. You should feel proud for earning your places here.
This is an exciting time for young scholars. New Chinese graduates represent nearly one-fifth of the talent entering the global workforce. At NYIT, you have joined a special group that will set you apart. Today, about 5% of adults in China have earned a bachelor’s degree. But, because you are pursuing an American degree, that’s a further distinction. You will experience an American-style education, with small classes, open discussions, and opportunities to gain hands-on skills in internships and volunteer work. We are continually striving to enhance your experience, and this past April, opened the Center for the Humanities and Culture here — a place where you will see films and hear speakers, attend conferences, read, or surf the Internet. So far this semester, we’ve hosted programs focusing on the American folk tradition of quilting and American sports.
So today we open NYIT’s sixth historic year. We have nearly 1,200 students enrolled at NYIT-Nanjing, including 324 new students. What is extra special about NYIT as a whole is that we have students from about 50 states and 100 nations. We have an incredibly diverse community in which to immerse yourselves face-to-face or via online tools and networking. Whether you’re studying communications, business, or engineering, you are an important part of the NYIT community.
I encourage you to make connections with not only your classmates; but also with the faculty, staff, and advisors who are here to assist you. As an aside, this academic year, we welcomed a new Campus Dean and Executive Director of NYIT-Nanjing, Dean Monique Taylor, whom you should all connect with. By the way, Dean Taylor holds degrees from both Yale and Harvard.
Members of the Class of 2016, at NYIT, you will be exposed to big ideas, engaging activities, and extra-curricular experiences. In the coming months and years, you will learn about some of the greatest ideas and creative expressions in science, business, art, and literature. At the same time, you’ll likely live through some interesting coming-of-age moments; they’re part of what college is all about.
In these four years, you will get the best of Chinese higher education interwoven with the best of American higher education. So, let’s look at what makes an American college distinctive.
First, there is a core curriculum. At NYIT, we devote about a quarter of all classes to general knowledge and updated solutions for addressing skills employers are looking for—in communications, literacy, critical and analytical thinking, an interdisciplinary mindset, ethical and civic engagement, a global perspective, and knowledge of the nature and process of the arts and sciences.
Now, you may ask, why does general knowledge matter if you want to be an engineer? To start with, you are more than an engineer. You are a person. General education gives you the context of the world in which you live. It tells you about the people for whom you’ll be engineering. It tells you about the places you’ll be working. And it opens vistas for you. Want to start your own company? You will need to know a lot more than engineering.
Second, when you walk into an American-style classroom, you may notice the informal atmosphere. In some classes, students may address their professors casually, maybe even by their first names. Students may develop social relationships with their instructors, such as going out for coffee. Even in these cases, the typical teacher-student relationship resumes back in the classroom.
Third, professors expect students to ask if they don’t understand something. It not only saves the student time, but it also tells teachers how well they are communicating. Professors respect students who work to fully understand the material. Timely feedback, frequent collaboration, active engagement, and rich give-and-take are what you can expect from your professors here.
I am sure you know that in this knowledge-based economy, a college degree has become almost a requirement for a successful professional life. NYIT graduates have an exceptional record of employment in their professions. That is because an information-rich, digitally-saturated society puts a premium on people who can synthesize information from many sources and who have the ability to think critically, with breadth, depth, and insight about the world.
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 I just mentioned on all our campuses, so it is easy to progress toward your degree if you take classes at another NYIT campus, which I encourage you to do.
NYIT is committed to maintaining its strong and cooperative relationships in China in order to share knowledge and facilitate dialogue as part of a broader global community.
For example, NYIT and the Center for Water Research at Peking University are co-organizing a conference next week in Beijing on Water Management and Global Challenges, co-sponsored by the Environment & Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars, the School for International Software at Wuhan University, the World Environment Center, the Jordan University of Science and Technology, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ “Water for Life” Decade, HDR, and Coca Cola. As a model 21st-century global university educating students, we feel that it is our responsibility to spur productive dialogue on critical issues to raise awareness and contribute to finding solutions.
NYIT already has nearly 1,600 alumni here in China, including about 950 who have earned an M.B.A. That number, which will increase rapidly, includes those who studied in China as well as at our New York and Vancouver campuses. We help them find the best employees for their companies, which means we can help you find excellent employment opportunities. During orientation, you may already have met our Associate Director of Alumni and Employer Relations, Tony Lei Tong. He is here to help you—and he happens to be an NYIT graduate!
Our alumni include movers and shakers in top firms and government agencies including Wan Hong, vice president of Jiangling Auto Co., the largest business firm in the Jiangxi Province, and Shenglai Chen, now the dean of the school of literature from Shanghai Academy of Social Science. By the way, a current NYIT graduate student earning her Executive Master of Business Administration degree at our Manhattan campus is Ms. Yuebing Zhou, shown here standing next to me at a recent event on our Old Westbury campus, along with other E.M.B.A. students. Of course, you may recognize her as a beauty pageant winner in China, who was also named “The World Miss Friendship” at the 2012 Miss Global Tourism World Championships in Germany.
NYIT’s alumni also include Chen Ning-ning, known to some as the “Iron Princess,” and one of the most prominent women in China. She earned her undergraduate degree at NYIT in 1994. Wu Linqi earned an M.B.A. in 2007 from the NYIT-JUFE program; he is an entrepreneur and founder of the Zhongshi Golf Museum, the only formal golf museum in China.
There are more recent alumni successes that began right here in Nanjing. There is great news to report about our second NYIT-Nanjing graduating class. Less than four months after graduation, 99% accepted outstanding job offers or educational opportunities. Almost any university you can name would envy that placement rate. Our graduates secured positions at more than 100 top companies in China, including Alcatel-Lucent, China Telecom, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Unicom, and China Mobile. And that’s at a time when the global economy continues to be a challenge.
Those who didn’t immediately go to work chose to go on to graduate school and were accepted into the most prestigious graduate programs, including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Dartmouth and Duke, Johns Hopkins, Michigan and UPenn —and NYIT—often with scholarships. In fact, 102 students were accepted into colleges or universities in the United States.
In these opening weeks of your college years, many people likely are giving you advice— your relatives, your advisors, your professors. And, across the world, some sage old college administrator—that would be me—is imparting hard-earned wisdom upon the Class of 2016. Let’s do the same:
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 an important quality tied to success. We accepted you, so we believe you have the ability to succeed.
Learn to ask for help from fellow students, professors, and staff. They are here to help.
Start right away with your plans, but don’t hurry to do it all at once. Join a club, attend an athletic event, study at one of our global campuses, take at least one internship, get to know your professors and advisors, partake in a research project, and more.
Don’t accept what I, any of your professors, or advisors say on surface value alone. Challenge ideas before embracing them. As Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” This will serve you well in your personal and professional lives for years to come.
Remember that you are invited to join me in New York on May 22, 2016 to celebrate your graduation with an American university degree from NYIT.
When I meet our students, I like to tell them that our name, New York Institute of Technology, is an extraordinary calling card on the global landscape.
New York, our first name, is home to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, major cultural venues, the United Nations, and the heart and soul of major media ventures…as well as professional sports organizations. Perhaps you have heard of… the Yankees? Madison Square Garden? Both are multibillion-dollar enterprises. Fifty of the Fortune 500 companies in 2012 are in New York. NYIT is at the heart of this energy and opportunity.
So, we provide a golden key to the world through our location, of course, but also because of our last name, technology. Technology is in our DNA. New York and technology are part of our fabric. And technology serves the world well—it provides access to information, communication, and solutions to the world’s largest challenges, ranging from economic to environmental. Technology opens the door to the knowledge capital I mentioned before.
As you embark on your undergraduate years here, I urge you to once again study hard and take advantage of a global education and technology, and what is truly the best of all worlds.