In early May we heard the popular refrain of “I got out,” as more than 1,700 engineering students received their degrees. I consider it a privilege to shake their hands as they cross the stage during the ceremonies since, as an alumnus myself, I know the trials and tribulations of graduating from Georgia Tech. Among those turning their tassels this year were Leo Benatar, an 86-year-old who has waited 59 years to receive his master’s degree in industrial engineering; Tiffany Davis, an aerospace engineer whose letter to President Obama led to him speaking at Tech; and Nick Selby, the mechanical engineer whose inspiring “You Can Do That” speech to incoming freshmen was a viral sensation.
These are just a few of the remarkable engineering students who received their diplomas. Some will continue their studies here and elsewhere as they seek higher degrees, and others will join the workforce. Even Leo Benatar (below) says he plans to continue working.
If you ask these new graduates what about Georgia Tech helped them achieve their goals, you will find some common themes. The reputation of Tech, the quality of instruction, the ability to intern or co-op, undergraduate research opportunities, and student design competitions are mentioned frequently. However, what really struck me this year was that so many students said that Tech gave them confidence, exposed them to challenges, taught them to teach themselves, and showed them out of failure how to succeed. These are the real lessons learned on campus and the lessons that will serve them every day as they leave North Avenue. Congrats to our newly minted engineers and to all of our alumni – you are each a helluva engineer!