NYIT President Edward Guiliano and NUPT President Yang Zhen today welcomed 117 freshmen to the NYIT-Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications dual degree program in Nanjing, China. In welcoming the Class of 2017, the two presidents were joined by faculty and staff from NYIT and NUPT. The 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 delighted to be here. Ni hao.
On behalf of our 13,000 students, 3,600 faculty and staff members at our campuses throughout the world, and 95,000 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.
Class of 2017, my speech this morning includes many words. You may not be able to follow them all now, but we promise you will before you graduate.
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 the Chinese workforce. More than 9 million of you took and successfully navigated the college entrance exams in 2013, which is an astounding feat in and of itself. The competition was steep—about 70 percent was accepted into college. You should feel proud for earning your places here.
China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security reported that seven million students graduated from institutions of higher learning in 2013. That’s the biggest class in the history of China and marks an exciting time for young scholars. At NYIT, you have joined a special group that will set you apart. Today, about 17 percent of people in China age 25-34 have a college degree. But, because you are pursuing an American degree, that further distinguishes you. You will experience an American-style education, with small classes, open discussions, and opportunities to gain hands-on skills in internships and volunteer work.
Today we open NYIT’s seventh historic year. We have nearly 1,100 students enrolled at NYIT-Nanjing, including 117 new students. What is extra special about NYIT is that we have students from many U.S. states and 100 nations. Whether you’re studying communications or engineering, you are an important part of the NYIT community. Your classmates are waiting for you in New York.
In these four years, you will get the best of Chinese higher education interwoven with the best of American higher education. Let’s look at what makes an American college distinctive.
First, there is a core curriculum. At NYIT, we devote about a quarter of classes to establishing a foundation of comprehensive knowledge and skills employers seek — in the arts and sciences, communications, innovation, critical and analytical thinking, qualitative and quantitative research, interdisciplinary studies, business ethics, civic engagement, global economics, and creative confidence.
Now, you may ask, why does general knowledge matter if you want to be an engineer? Broad education provides context of the world in which you live. It tells you about the people for whom you’ll be engineering. It tells you about places you’ll be working. Want to create your own a startup? You will need to know a lot more than engineering.
Second, when you enter an American-style classroom, you may notice the informal atmosphere. Students may address their professors casually, maybe by their first names. Students may develop social relationships with their instructors, such as going extending class discussions, going out for coffee, and collaborating.
Third, professors expect students to ask if they don’t understand something. In this knowledge-based economy, a college degree is often a requirement for a successful professional future. NYIT graduates have exceptional records of employment in their professions; an information-rich, digitally-saturated society values people who can synthesize information from many sources and can think critically, with breadth, depth, and a worldly perspective.
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.
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.
NYIT has nearly 2,000 alumni in China, about half of whom have earned an M.B.A. That number includes those who studied in China and at our New York and Vancouver campuses. During orientation, you may already have met Associate Director of Alumni and Employer Relations, Tony Lei Tong. He’s here to help you—and happens to be an NYIT graduate!
Our inspiring alumni are at top firms and government agencies. Chen Ning-ning, known to some as the “Iron Princess,” is one of China’s wealthiest and most prominent women. She earned her undergraduate degree at NYIT in 1994. More recent alumni successes began right here in Nanjing. Here’s some news about our third NYIT-Nanjing graduating class. More than 80% have accepted distinguished jobs and educational opportunities. Our graduates secured positions at top companies, including China Post Bank, China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, and Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation. And in a tight job market, no less.
Many others chose graduate school and were accepted into prestigious programs, including Lehigh, Northeastern University, New York University, University of Southern California — and NYIT. And some continue right here at NUPT.
In these opening weeks of college, people likely are giving you advice. And, across the world, some sage old college administrator—that would be me—is imparting hard-earned wisdom upon you as well:
Work hard—especially your first few weeks.
Make new friends and remember to have fun.
Almost everyone has at least one rough semester. You will get through it; don’t get discouraged—it’s part of your real-world experience.
Build your creative confidence. It’s an important quality for success. We accepted you, so believe in yourself, you have the ability to succeed.
Learn to ask for help. Fellow students, professors, and staff are here to assist you.
Begin planning, but don’t over extend yourself. Join a club, study at one of our global campuses, take an internship, get to know your professors and advisors, partake in a research project, and more. AND
Don’t accept what I, your professors, or advisors say on surface value. Develop a healthy skepticism. 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.
When I meet students, I like to share that our name, New York Institute of Technology, is an extraordinary business card and brand 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, major media ventures, as well as professional sports organizations. Perhaps you have heard of… the Yankees? Madison Square Garden? Both are multibillion-dollar enterprises. Nearly 50 of 2013’s Fortune 500 companies are in New York. NYIT is at the heart of this energy, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.
We provide a golden key to the world through our location, and also because of our last name, technology. New York and technology are at the core of NYIT. And the universal language, technology, serves the world well—providing access to information, communication, and solutions to the world’s largest challenges... Technology crosses borders and opens the door to the knowledge capital.
As you embark on your undergraduate years, I urge you to study hard and take advantage of a global education and technology, and what is truly the best of all worlds.