New Jersey Institute of Technology Graduates Largest January Class Ever

NEWARK, Jan. 24--The largest January graduating class in the history of New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, received their degrees Jan. 23 at the school's 119th commencement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark.

Approximately 897 candidates, including 377 bachelor's, 493 master's, and 27 doctoral degree candidates were graduated. Twenty-seven doctoral degrees were presented, the largest number ever awarded by NJIT at a January commencement.

Sandra Barry, Colonia, who received a bachelor's degree in architecture and was a student at NJIT's Albert Dorman Honors College, represented the undergraduates. She spoke to her fellow classmates in a short speech during the ceremony.

"At NJIT," Barry said during her speech, "we learned to think on our feet, to choose the best outlets for our efforts and to recognize our roles in the larger scheme of things. Now we have the opportunity to pursue a myriad of careers. That is why we are so proud to be graduates of NJIT."

Barry, who graduated magna cum laude, also studied abroad at the University of Sienna, Italy. She won a design award from the School of Architecture, and she also worked for the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

Charles Alvin Bass, Jr., who received a doctorate in chemical engineering, represented the graduate students. Bass, of Woodbridge, Va., also made a short speech in which he encouraged the graduates to not only excel in science and technology jobs, but to remember that the ultimate goal of any job, and life, is to do good for society. Bass began working on his doctorate ten years ago while also serving in the U.S. Army. For four years, he worked as an assistant professor of chemistry at the United States Military Academy, West Point. While teaching at West Point he took evening classes at NJIT. Bass retired from the military last year and now works for an engineering research firm in Manassas, Va.

During each graduation, top academic students who assumed leadership roles at the university's six colleges are chosen to carry gonfalons - symbolic flags representing each college. On this commencement day Carlos Guarda, of Oakhurst, carried the gonfalon for the Newark College of Engineering. Guarda said his years at NJIT were the most satisfying of his young life. "The past four years at NJIT," he said, "have been challenging and demanding but well-guided, with inspiring professors."

Jack Zuccoon, of Wayne, carried the gonfalon for the New Jersey School of Architecture. "The architecture program at NJIT," Zuccoon said, " has proved to be both a challenging and exciting experience."

George Youssef, also of Wayne, who carried the gonfalon for Albert Dorman Honors College, said NJIT allowed him to capitalize on a childhood dream. "Since I was six years old," Youssef said, "I wanted to be an engineer. NJIT, a great school, allowed me achieve that goal. I'm an electrical engineer and I already have a job."

Indu Shrivastava, of Belleville, carried the gonfalon for College of Science and Liberal Arts. "Awesome," is how she described graduation. "NJIT," she added, "has provided me with confidence to step out into the real world and start a new career."

Junilda Spirollari, of Newark, who carried the gonfalon for College of Computing Science, said graduation was a great day. "I'm very happy to graduate from NJIT," she said, "and furthermore to share my happiness with my parents, who are here by my side on this "great day."

NJIT President Saul K. Fenster presided over the ceremony, during which two honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees were conferred. The first was presented to Carol Bartz, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Autodesk, a personal computer software firm based in San Rafael, Calif.

Since Bartz joined Autodesk in 1992, the company has diversified its product line and expanded revenues from $285 million to more than $936 million. Today, Autodesk is one of the world's largest PC software firms.

The second honorary degree was presented to architect James Stewart Polshek, founder and principal of the New York-based Polshek Partnership, one of the nation's leading architectural firms.

Chosen to design the Clinton Presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas, Polshek Partnership has garnered numerous design awards for such highly visible projects as the Rose Center for Earth and Space of the American Museum of Natural History, New York Public Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the Santa Fe Opera Theater and the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations 
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