2011 Commencement Remarks

Good morning, and welcome to NJIT’s 2011 commencement ceremony.

Above all, this is an exceptional day for everyone who will soon be a graduate of NJIT. I commend the effort that you invested in working toward your degrees, and I congratulate you on what you have achieved by virtue of that effort.

Anatole France, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921, said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” Along the way to this day, family and friends have been foremost among those encouraging you to dream of what you might accomplish, and to believe that your dreams would one day become reality. Please join me in applauding those whose support has been so important on your journey.

NJIT’s faculty, administration and staff have helped you to gain knowledge that will enable you to plan and act effectively in many fields. It is our hope that with this knowledge you will realize the greatest degree of professional success and lifelong personal fulfillment.  It is our hope, too, that the ethnic and cultural diversity you have experienced at NJIT has fostered an appreciation of how vital it is to be a thoughtful and a positive participant in the global community.

The careers of the two individuals who will be awarded Honorary Doctor of Science degrees today exemplify the significance of a worldview that embraces international cooperation as the foundation for technological innovation and economic progress in the 21st century. Joseph Taylor is chairman and chief executive officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America, which recently announced the relocation of its headquarters to Newark. Panasonic’s presence in the city that has been home to NJIT for more than 130 years will further energize the upward trajectory of Newark’s economy and enhance its role in national and global commerce.  Joe has also been personally connected to NJIT for two decades through the Panasonic Creative Design Challenge and Panasonic Scholarship Program.

Daniel Henderson, another long-time a friend of our university, worked closely with Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto, regarded by many as the Thomas Edison of Japan. As in past years, Dan will present the Hashimoto Prize to outstanding doctoral graduates from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Looking back over the centuries provides dramatic examples of how the intellectual creativity of diverse cultures has significantly influenced the course of history and the quality of life. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks formulated geometric concepts that for the first time made it possible to survey land with precision and calculate the circumference of the Earth.  Europe received its number system from the Arabic world some 800 years ago.  And it was the compass, a Chinese invention, that gave Western mariners the confidence to venture far from land at the dawn of the great age of exploration in the 15th century.

The distinguished and very quotable Nobel Prize winning American physicist Richard Feynman said that our responsibility to the future is to “Do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.” I know that as graduates of NJIT you will work with the people of every culture and nation to learn all that we can and do the best that we can to improve life in the present and for future generations.

Thank you. And once again, congratulations to the NJIT Class of 2011!