Newswise — Before an audience of more than 8,000 gathered at its Old Westbury campus, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) celebrated its 56th commencement, a global event saluting 3,036 graduates from throughout the United States and 62 countries. Thirty-three percent of students earned undergraduate degrees; 67percent earned graduate, medical, professional, or post-graduate degrees.

The ceremony was especially momentous for the Class of 2017 as the future, interim, and recent past president of the university each addressed the graduates: Hank Foley, Ph.D., who will become NYIT’s fourth president on June 1; Interim President Rahmat Shoureshi, Ph.D., who conferred the degrees; and Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., who stepped down in January after serving as NYIT president for 16 years.   

“To a very great extent, our legacy and the reputation of this institution will be judged and determined by your successes and your accomplishments,” Foley told the graduates. “Just like you­, we at NYIT are also ready to seize the future. We are about to embark on a new chapter of this institution’s history and to further its legacy of transformative higher education grounded in technology. This is a legacy that is rooted in the past, grows, and branches out in the present, but is fully realized only in the future.”

Interim President Shoureshi also conferred honorary degrees upon two NYIT alumni: Richard J. Daly (B.S. ’74), CEO and president, Broadridge Financial Solutions, who delivered the keynote address, and Humayun J. Chaudhry (D.O. ’91), president and CEO, Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, who will deliver an address tomorrow, May 22, to the 295 medical students graduating from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at its 36th hooding ceremony.

In his keynote address, Daly said, “NYIT has given you the right foundation. On this foundation, build skills of excellence and differentiation.” He also urged the graduates not to be afraid to ask for help or to make mistakes, and to go through life with clear values and beliefs. He concluded by saying, “Go out there, be proud. Remember, we’re NYIT. We’ve got the right stuff.”  

Students from NYIT campuses in Old Westbury, Manhattan, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates, and online attended the ceremony, which was webcast live around the world.

Class of 2017 student marshals Erica Brandt (M.A., Communication Arts, Bellmore, N.Y.), Raiyan Islam (B.S., Life Sciences, Bangladesh), and Farcia Soares (M. Arch., Goa, India) assisted in the hooding of the honorary degree recipients. Andrea LaRosa (D.O., Osteopathic Medicine, Islip, N.Y.) sang the national anthem.

Alvaro Olmedo (B.F.A., Communication Arts), the Class of 2017 student orator, said, “Everyone thought it was crazy for me to go to college in America. I was born and raised in the south of Brazil and graduated from a class of just 80 people. Where I come from it’s not common for people to study in the U.S.”

He continued, “It is truly beautiful to see a crowd of graduates that represents so many ethnicities, nationalities, age ranges, and paths of life. We all come from different places, and believe in different things, but we stand here together.” He concluded by telling his fellow graduates, “Our time has come, Class of 2017; the time to spread understanding, to praise differences, to build bridges, to clean oceans, to end hunger, to uphold the values we were taught during our time at NYIT.”  

Following the main commencement ceremony, students were individually recognized at ceremonies for the School of Architecture and Design; School of Engineering and Computing Sciences; School of Health Professions; School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education; School of Management; and College of Arts and Sciences.

About NYIT

NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 10,000 students in programs and campuses in New York (Manhattan and Old Westbury, Long Island) and Arkansas as well as China, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. NYIT sponsors 12 NCAA Division II programs.

NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 100,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit