The Barclays Center filled with the purple and silver-accented robes of Polytechnic School of Engineering students as their 160th Commencement Ceremony began on Thursday morning. Without pizzazz and performance, the exercises began with a candid engineer’s greeting from dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan to the class of 2015.
“None of you here will remember, for long, what I’m going to say today,” Sreenivasan said to a laughing audience, “so I will make no special efforts to offer profound advice.”
This is only Poly’s second commencement since its merger with NYU. The school had operated independently for 158 years as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute.
“Read Poly’s history and take inspiration from it,” Sreenivasan said. “Be proud of those who preceded you, but chart your own course.”
The course of engineering and technology has a long history and road ahead, as speaker and Executive Chairman of L1 Energy Lord John Browne noted. He praised the innovations of engineering, remarking that the British once thought the telephone was a device that only Americans needed — the British already had enough messenger boys. With optimism, he promised a bright future for engineers.
Speaking to his graduating peers, valedictorian Efrayim Zitron focused not on the unknowns and worries, but on definite, reassuring facts.
“We are the class of 2015,” Zitron said. “We are scientists. We are engineers.”