Malondra Jefferson of Syracuse, 22, poses for a photo with...

Malondra Jefferson of Syracuse, 22, poses for a photo with the NYIT Bears mascot during the 54th Annual NYIT Commencement in Old Westbury Sunday, May 17, 2015. Jefferson earned her B.P.S. in Hospitality Management Sunday. Credit: Barry Sloan

New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury campus

Number of graduates: 2,790, which includes undergraduate, graduate, medical professional and postgraduate students.

Commencement speaker:

"You are living at a changing moment in history," NYIT president Edward Guiliano told graduates.

"You come from nearly 50 states and more than 100 countries. Together you will build the first truly global, borderless society in the history of mankind."

He said that "more than ever, change is the only constant" and urged graduates to find perspective regardless of whether they are riding high or in the doldrums: "Don't worry, things will change."

The tools needed to triumph during changing times? "Preparation, passion and progress."

Guiliano said the chances that he would become a university president were "galactically remote," but building on the foundation of his earlier jobs, "I felt prepared when the call came."

Roll with the punches, he said. "Don't worry if plan A doesn't work; the alphabet has 25 more letters."

Student speaker:

Anne-Marie Gallo, 22, an international student from Nairobi, Kenya, told graduates that a family crisis forced her to leave school when she was 16. During the forced absence, she dreamed of getting a degree. A year later, she was able to come to the United States and study at NYIT, where her goals changed.

The importance of a degree receded into the background.

"I learned that . . . savoring the moment, savoring learning . . . is what really matters," said Gallo, who earned a bachelor's degree in English. "I believe if I go out and learn and do the little things and you go out and learn and do the little things . . . slowly but surely the world will change."

She concluded with a quote: "It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."

Kathleen Vazzana, 27, osteopathy

"I'm looking forward to treating children and being an advocate for their families," said Vazzana of Staten Island.

Richard Mortimore, 23, mechanical engineering

"I would love to get a job . . . and eventually come back to NYIT and teach here," said Mortimore of Hauppauge.

Omari Latmore, 22, architecture

My long-term goal "would be opening a firm overseas and having it expand worldwide," said Latmore, a Hollis, Queens, resident whose family is from Trinidad and Tobago.

Joshua Greenberg, 25, business administration

"I want to work for SpaceX with [CEO] Elon Musk," said Greenberg of Teaneck, New Jersey. "I want to do something that helps society on a grand scale."

Joelle Tanguy, 24, physician assistant

The graduate from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is working in transplant medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. "It's an amazing specialty to see these people get their new organ ... They get a new chance at life," she said.

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