Sy Sternberg with Jerry Hultin
Declaring that economic leadership will be built on technology leadership, Sy Sternberg, chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, told Polytechnic’s Class of 2006: “We need more engineers to sustain our country’s growth.” He noted that “China and India are outpacing us in the number of engineering graduates and both are enjoying robust economic growth.”
Sternberg, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering, delivered the commencement address and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. “You are the country’s future.” Sternberg said, “We need your leadership and technological skills.”
New York’s senior Senator Charles E. Schumer, who was Poly’s commencement speaker in 2003, advised the graduates that it’s an amazing time to be young and educated. “This is a new world that needs technological and scientific leaders,” he said. “My advice is simple: go for it!”
President Jerry M. Hultin challenged the graduates to step forward and take up the torch. “I challenge you to bring the light of your talent to the exciting challenges and opportunities of this ‘the world is flat’ century,” he said. “Set bold goals for yourself, both personal and professional, your life with have greater consequence….you will solve more complex problems….you will change the world in unexpected ways.”
Mohammad U. Alam, who graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average (GPA) and earned a bachelor’s in computer engineering and a master’s in telecommunications networks, delivered the valedictory address. “At Poly I met people from all walks of life, all different religions, nationalities and color,” he remarked. “I learned a lot from them. I learned about their culture, their ideals and their perspective on issues around us. I think this is what enriched y educational experience.”
Two students were awarded the Polytechnic Alumni Outstanding Graduate Award: Paul Glezer and Tanya Panchenko. Glezer graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s in computer science with a 3.4 and 3.6 GPA respectively; Panchenko earned a bachelor’s in chemistry with a 3.6 GPA and a master’s in biomedical engineering with a 3.4 GPA.
The Jacobs Distinguished Teacher Award was presented to Mary K. Cowman, associate professor of biochemistry, Othmer-Jacobs Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Polytechnic awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, whose mission is to develop the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world. Clifford H. Goldsmith was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. Goldsmith served on Poly’s Board of Trustees for two decades and as vice chairman helped steer the University through a transforming period in its long and distinguished history. Laura Parsons, a former member of the Board of Trustees and a long-standing member of Poly’s Promise Fund Board, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
The 2006 commencement ceremony culminated with the conferring of 298 bachelor’s, 271 master’s and 19 PhD degrees at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on June 4.