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NYIT holds 58th commencement

Architecture students, from left, Mark Pope, 27, Belinda

Architecture students, from left, Mark Pope, 27, Belinda Berisha, 25, Zeyneb Abacioglu, 24, and Altagracia Ferriera, 24, cheer as their professors walk onto the stage at their graduation ceremony at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury on Sunday. Credit: Linda Rosier

New York Institute of Technology held its 58th commencement Sunday on the campus at Old Westbury.

Number of graduates

1,009 bachelor’s degrees, 1,366 graduate degrees, 345 doctorate degrees, and 49 certificate and advanced certificate programs

Commencement speaker

Kevin D. Silva, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Voya Financial, Inc., and an honorary degree recipient. Silva also is chairman of NYIT's board of trustees.

He offered advice for professional success. "Someone more experienced has the answers that you are seeking. And so the fastest way you can excel in your careers is to find the best mentors, both in your life and in your career. The slowest learners in life are those who need to put their hands on every hot stove just to determine if it's hot," Silva said. "The fastest learners are those who can learn from those who've gone ahead of them, stealing their ideas, accepting their feedback, and then moving on from there."

President's remarks

NYIT President Hank Foley told graduates, "There's so much to be said about the journey, versus the destination ... Go out, find your success, and grasp it." 

Student speaker

Gabrielle Redding, an architecture major from Sparta, New Jersey, will be studying at Harvard Graduate School of Design in the fall. She said, "One of the biggest things NYIT taught me is that sometimes in life, it is OK to get humble and ask for help. It's in those moments when we have the greatest chance to grow."


Ajlan Okman, 25, Istanbul, Turkey, electrical engineering and computer science

NYIT “is a small community with a big opportunity. They let you try. They let support you. I have done in undergrad a lot of stuff that most people don’t have a chance to complete in their full-time job.”  

Astrude Celiba, 38, Baldwin, master's, occupational therapy

“I learned that whatever you want, you just work hard and go for it.” She said her plan was to work for five years and go back to school to earn a doctorate degree. 

Rayvon Nimmons, 24, Newburgh, N.Y., architecture

“You need to have patience and apply yourself so you can see the project through. Professors are definitely wonderful, and they actually push you to where you need to be.”  He said he wants to help people through his architectural projects, from building housing and commercial spaces “that can actually better the world.”

Brooke Basso, 22, Lake Ronkonkoma, psychology

Basso will stay at NYIT as she studies for a master’s degree in childhood education. She wants to be an elementary school teacher. The graduating lacrosse player said she learned much about “time management” through her experience as a student athlete. She said, “I had to balance schoolwork and athletics.” She said her goal as an educator is to "to help children be confident and know how important they are.”

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