Distinguished guests, faculty, and staff and, yes, members of the Class of 2013:
President Edward Guiliano addresses and celebrates the Class of 2013 at NYIT-Amman, in Amman, Jordan, on May 31, 2013.
Greetings, on this wonderful evening! Asalam Alaikum.
It is my privilege to be here to celebrate with you and to congratulate the 112 baccalaureate and 65 master’s graduates at NYIT-Amman.
You’re an impressive group and we salute you.
Congratulations on earning your degree. Its value will only grow. I, too, salute everyone who helped you get here. Your parents, grandparents, family, friends – all those who helped get you to this special moment.
Author and art collector Gertrude Stein once observed, “There are no straight lines in nature.” Something Einstein and other scientists proved. Well, there aren’t any in life either, though we sometimes move in what seem like straight lines in our spherical world.
As someone who once sat where you are sitting – a few years ago – I can tell you how surprising and rewarding a path my education has forged. I certainly did not major in university administration. My education taught me the value of experiencing this vast world, with its rich and endless surprises, beyond any straight path I might have envisioned. And it taught me what NYIT has taught you: To become culturally and intellectually savvy, able to integrate ideas from many sources. And not to fear change, but embrace it.
In the years to come, you’ll enjoy opportunities that first appear in the corner of your eye. You’ll have wonderful experiences, and meet fascinating people. Some of those people will probably be NYIT graduates. Including you, the Class of 2013, we have 95,000 alumni in some 150 countries. Think of your NYIT degree as your passport to the world – and the future.
Our world now has the first universal network ever. Some six billion people own cell phones.
But that’s old news. Soon everyone will upgrade to smartphones. So six billion people will have them, except it will be seven billion by then, and everyone will be on the Internet. When you put computer intelligence in new places, it does new and powerful things. And the future changes.
Even right now, there are almost two million apps for smartphones. In 2013 alone, experts predict apps will be downloaded 56 billion times. That’s eight downloads for every person on earth. And yet—5 billion people still haven’t upgraded to smartphones. So even greater change is coming.
We can only guess what smart devices will like in 10 years. But it’s safe to say they will only get … smarter? You are prepared for this fast-evolving world.
As new graduates at the frontlines of science and industry, you can see change coming and you handle it better. You make change. And that’s exciting.
And that’s one of the many reasons university degrees are more valuable than ever.
Back in 1976, when the American magazine Newsweek was published in several languages, including Arabic, some print editions ran a cover with the big headline: “Who Needs College?”
To start with, the person who wrote that headline had a degree. Newsweek didn’t hire writer/editors without college degrees. Today, Newsweek is only online, because of technology. Its employees, however, still need college degrees.
The question keeps popping up. What is the value of higher education?
As we’ve seen in media reports lately, Jordan’s culture of entrepreneurship is growing. Much of that has to do with gains in information and communications technology. A technology consultant recently reported that the growth in the information and communications sector is leading to more opportunities in other sectors, including health, financial services, and manufacturing. No doubt, this will open up opportunities for graduates. With your degree and critical thinking skills, you are well-positioned to take advantage of entrepreneurial growth and innovation.
You, NYIT’s Class of 2013, are superbly global, and you know the value of entrepreneurship. Just ask our alumni, like Ramzi Ghurani, Class of 2005. He founded a branding company called Pique, and in his first year, had enough success in sales serving new startups in Jordan that another customer soon came calling: his father. So now Ramzi is taking his entrepreneurial knowledge to help his father’s 47-year-old company – and sales and net income are way up. No doubt you’ll hear more about him in the future.
Another graduate of NYIT-Jordan is Deema Bibi, who last year won an “Excellence in Positive Change” award from the Global Thinkers Forum. With her M.B.A. in international business, Deema became a CEO of a nonprofit organization that helps inspire young people in Jordan to succeed in business.
As these alumni and countless other NYIT graduates have learned, your degree will matter more and more as Jordan’s knowledge economy continues to grow. Employers will seek out those who possess critical thinking and problem-solving skills, coupled with an integrated technological and multidisciplinary mindset.
I certainly believe in the great return on investment a top education provides. And just this month in a national study, NYIT was ranked in the top 10 percent of the thousands of colleges and universities in America with regard to the return on your investment. And while I am using examples from America today, the fundamental truths and trends I am citing are global, resonating comparably in most nations around the globe.
I’m not sure when we started calling graduation ceremonies “commencement.” But it’s never been more appropriate than now.
None of you is where you started at NYIT. Here, you came across ideas you’d never have seen on your own. From marketing and finance to computer graphics and information technology, you’ve made new friends and connections in Amman, New York, and beyond.
We don’t know the careers you may ultimately follow, and you probably don’t either. They may not exist yet. But the critical competencies you’ll need are: good thinking, up-to-date knowledge, global awareness, teamwork, and adaptability. You are well-prepared. You have received a profession-ready education. You embody connectedness.
NYIT embodies connectedness, too.
We are like a city spread out over the planet. Innovation has always come from cities, where well-educated people meet, talk, and spin out ideas. We’re also connected across time, with our focus on the future.
We are a network. No one moves in a straight line in a network; you move from one node to the next. You turn corners and often find surprises. Wrong turns can lead to the right endings. The more connections you have, the more paths open up and the richer your life becomes. NYIT has given you a wealth of these connections.
And those connections will always blossom because you will always be part of the NYIT family. Even though today is our final graduation at our Jordan campus, know that you can reach out to NYIT at any time. Together, we have achieved much here, and we will do our part by being available for you, for the rest of your lives.
In closing, let me share a few words I’ve offered to graduates before you.
When you leave here today, always remember to: Think deeply, speak gently, love much, laugh often, work hard, give freely, pay promptly…and be kind.