New York Institute of Technology held its 56th commencement Sunday on the campus in Old Westbury.

Number of graduates

994 bachelor’s degrees, 1,730 master’s degrees, 312 doctorates

Commencement speaker

NYIT’s interim president Rahmat Shoureshi spoke of the challenges graduates will face after leaving the college and how their degrees have uniquely equipped them to succeed in a “world fueled by technology,” and to adapt and prepare for the “twists and turns” ahead. “Commencement marks a new beginning, a new life that is about to unfold before you,” Shoureshi said. “Beginning today, take everything you have learned at NYIT not just to advance your professional and personal standing, but also, and far more importantly, to improve the lives of others.”

Hank Foley, the university’s incoming president, looked ahead to the school’s future, telling students, “This feels like a very special place, a place that is as diverse as it is innovative. And I can see that by working together as partners, we can achieve even greater levels of success and distinction for NYIT across the globe and into the future.”

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Student speaker

Alvaro Olmeda talked about the difficulties of leaving his hometown of Porto Alegre, Brazil, to study in the United States. He celebrated the diversity of this year’s graduating class, which has students from more than 60 countries. “If I can stand here as a proud, gay Latino man, it is because I found in you, my peers, a community of support, of true friends — of young leaders who believe in a modern world, in advancing through technology, in changing the future,” said Olmeda, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts. “We all leave NYIT with our own set of superpowers.”


Gary Baxter, 70, master’s of communication arts

“It was a unique struggle to acclimate to all this new technology, but I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Baxter, 70, a Vietnam veteran from Brooklyn.

Matt Busch, 22, bachelor’s in architecture

“I’ll be starting a job as a junior architect at a firm in Old Westbury,” said Busch, 22, of Islip. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Christine Lorenzo, 40, advanced diploma in school leadership and technology

“I currently work as a teacher in the Herricks School District and now feel prepared for the next step in my career as an educator,” said Lorenzo, 40, of Oceanside.

Greg Desrosiers, 29, master’s in electrical and computer engineering

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“I started a job about two months ago as a systems engineer. Before that I was a support engineer,” said Desrosiers, 29, of Huntington, adding that he decided to earn his master’s degree after the birth of his daughter, Gianna.