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Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

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On May 19, more than 6,000 graduates, family members, and friends joined faculty, staff, and administration at New York Institute of Technology’s Long Island campus to celebrate its 63rd annual commencement. The event celebrated 2,392 candidates for graduation from 67 countries and throughout the United States, 26 percent of whom are earning undergraduate degrees and the remainder earning graduate, medical, professional, or post-graduate degrees. Of note, New York Tech also conferred its first Ph.D. degrees to three candidates enrolled in its combined osteopathic medicine (D.O.)/medical and biological sciences (Ph.D.) program.

Twenty-seven members of the Class of 2024 are veterans. The youngest undergraduate student is 20 years old; the oldest is 63. Among those students earning graduate, medical, professional, or post-graduate degrees, the youngest is 21 years old and the oldest is 69.

“We salute our Class of 2024, their accomplishments, and their embodiment of our doer-maker culture,” noted New York Tech President Hank Foley, Ph.D. “We are confident that their New York Tech education and experiences will serve these new graduates well in the next chapter of their professional and personal journeys.”

Foley conferred honorary degrees upon Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Ph.D., PE (B.S.’84), distinguished professor of biomedical engineering and the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair at the University of California, Irvine; and Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., one of only two holding the title of university professor at the University of Connecticut. Both were honored with a Doctor of Science (Sc.D.). Athanasiou then delivered the keynote address to the Class of 2024; Laurencin is the keynote speaker for the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) Commencement and Hooding, to be held later in the day.

President Hank Foley, left, and honorary degree recipient Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

“This honor from my alma mater touches a deep chord in me and fills me with nostalgia for the beloved university that set me on a path toward achievement and excellence,” Athanasiou shared. “I have no complaints from life as I consider myself one of the luckiest people. After high school, I had a place to go to the National Technical University in Athens. Instead, my instinct was to go to the United States to work and go to university. And that’s what I did … I consider it the most pivotal decision of my life!”

He concluded by saying to the graduates, “I look at you, and … think about the things you will be doing in 10, 20 years. I will be rooting for you, I will be admiring you, and I will be looking forward to reading about your accomplishments and successes that I know will make our New York Tech family proud.” 

The Power of Determination

Two members of the Class of 2024 assisted in hooding the honorary degree recipients. Queens, N.Y.-native Zeiad Kawy (B.S. ’24), a health sciences major and student orator, who addressed his classmates during the ceremony, and Roslyn Paul (B.S. ’24), a biology major from Dix Hills, N.Y.

In his address, Kawy spoke of overcoming challenges, like starting at New York Tech during a pandemic, and of navigating through devastating experiences, like losing his father unexpectedly. But, he said, “I know that many people in our graduating class have gone through so much worse. So, for every single one of us, whether the obstacles were large or small, as we step out into the world, let us do so with our heads held high, our hearts full of hope, and our spirits unyielding.”

Commencement2024StudentSpeakerZeiadKawy

Student speaker Zeiad Kawy

Kawy credits his mother’s guidance during such difficulties, noting that “her spirit became my guiding light, reminding me of the power of determination and the importance of turning pain into purpose.” He will now begin his studies in New York Tech’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Following the main ceremony, students are recognized individually at in-person graduations for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, School of Architecture and Design, School of Health Professions, and School of Management.

In addition, NYITCOM is holding a hooding ceremony for the Class of 2024 from the Long Island campus later in the afternoon; the Class of 2024 in the Jonesboro, Ark., location will be hooded on May 24. Graduation for New York Tech’s Vancouver campus is scheduled for the fall.

Check out our social media wall for more photos from commencement.

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