2007 Commencement Remarks

Welcome to NJIT’s 2007 commencement ceremony.

Today is the culmination of exceptional effort on the part of all those who will shortly receive their degrees, and I want to congratulate each of you for reaching this milestone. This is also an occasion to acknowledge the support of those who Mark Twain described as being “really great because they make you feel that you, too, can become great.” 

Please join me in a round of applause for family and friends whose encouragement and support have made it possible for you to look forward to even greater achievements in the future.

You have also benefited greatly from the knowledge and dedication of the faculty and staff who serve our students in many ways. Please join me in recognizing these individuals for what they have contributed to your success today, and to what you will surely accomplish in the years ahead .

Anatole France, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921, said that “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” In many respects, this is the spirit that NJIT has endeavored to share with students and with the world at large for more than 125 years. The unique character of this spirit at our university is rooted in scientific discovery and technological progress. Such discovery and progress comprise an undeniably positive force, and our dream has been of the boundless knowledge to be discovered for the benefit of people around the globe.

As graduates of NJIT, you will carry this mission forward in many ways. Our keynote speaker this morning is our good friend Anthony Coscia, who chairs the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Perhaps some of you will join the NJIT alumni who are contributing to the work of the Port Authority — work that requires a wide range of skills to provide our region with vital transportation resources and to promote international commerce.

The Port Authority is also engaged in rebuilding infrastructure in New York City that was shattered on September 11, 2001. The efforts of all those involved exemplify both the great resilience of this nation and our optimistic commitment to making tomorrow better than today.

But whatever career you embark upon as graduates of NJIT, you have been well prepared with knowledge that can improve life for the people of every country. It is equally significant that you have acquired this knowledge in an academic setting that brings together women and men of all races and diverse cultural backgrounds.

As professionals in the global economy, your scientific and technological expertise will be valued throughout the world. At times, you will encounter situations that are especially challenging, where success may seem to be very elusive. But as Winston Churchill said of such life situations, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

I wish everyone graduating today the fullest measure of the courage it takes to dream of a better world and to persevere in helping to make that world a reality. I also wish you a future rich with much personal success.

“Congratulations to the NJIT Class of 2007!”

Robert A. Altenkirch, President