Last month SEAS held its first alumni reception at the University Club, and it was a very enjoyable occasion. It was an opportunity for over one hundred alumni, faculty and friends of SEAS to catch up on careers and to network. President Stuart Rabinowitz graciously spoke kind words about our growth over the past four years and what it does for the image of the university. Mr. Tom Sanzone ‘82, a graduate of our Department of Computer Science, who is now CEO of Black Knight Financial Services (the major player in handling mortgage data for the nation’s banks), gave a riveting keynote speech about how Hofstra helped him toward his career, and about the attributes a technically proficient person needs to cultivate in order to create opportunities for themselves and for others.
There were graduates from over 20 years ago, from less than 10 years ago, and even from last year – all of them with interesting stories to tell. A number of them had gone into the financial services industry, some were actively involved in the ongoing transformation of Manhattan with the Hudson Yards projects or upstate with the new Tappan Zee bridges, and some were in charge of their own mid-sized consulting firms. Several were already in a position to hire some of our Co-op students and some of our recent graduates. A number of them took advantage of the opportunity to visit our new laboratories just prior to the reception, and were duly impressed with what our current students have at their disposal.
The evening illuminated for me once again just how versatile our graduates are, and therefore how valuable an SEAS education is. At events where I speak to prospective students and their parents, I like to point out that only 50% of engineering and computer science graduates actually hold a position defined by their major. The rest are using the skills they developed in our programs in other fields where logical ways of thinking and a facility for handling data are essential for success.
Of course our current students are gearing up for final exams early this month, exams which test their knowledge of very specific subjects, many of them replete with arcane equations and lengthy design protocols. These exercises are an integral feature of technical education, a rite of passage for students to show they have the mettle to attain the degree that signifies a broad knowledge of their field of study. Many will also be presenting capstone design projects before an audience of faculty, fellow students and outside judges.
I salute their hard work, and anticipate them moving eventually into the ranks of our graduates. And I look forward to seeing them at future alumni receptions, recounting their own interesting life stories.
Happy holidays to all.