To the graduates of the Class of 2020, and to your families who have given you moral and financial support throughout the years:
We at the DeMatteis School want to commend you for your accomplishments. You have completed the degree requirements for a rigorous program. You undergraduates did so by spending 15/16ths of your career on campus in classroom settings, and the last 1/16th at home, juggling online lectures and exercises with household chores such as keeping your room in order, serving as sous chef in the kitchen, and perhaps sharing laptop time with siblings. You’ve reached this endpoint through unexpected adversity and now own that degree. You’ve persisted, and here you are at that threshold – or rather there you are, and here we are, still for now communicating via electronic media from our respective domiciles – but hopefully not for long, because history shows that the human spirit is invincible, and the inconveniences of the moment will inevitably give way to opportunities.
If one looks for parallels from the past to our experiences today, in the last century alone, the influenza epidemic of 1917-18 was overlaid on a catastrophic war which devastated Europe and brought suffering and economic distress to the United States as well. And yet during the succeeding decade, the radio and automobiles and the extension of electric power brought incredible industrial activity to society. We hope that like then, adversity will lead to innovation, led by engineers and computer scientists.
Indeed optimism is embedded in what you have experienced these past four years. You have learned to see problems as challenges to be overcome, and you have built a skill set that enables you to jump in and lend your mind and your hands to tackle the myriad problems the world faces. Perhaps that opportunity may have to wait a few months until our economy is functioning as it was prior to the shutdown. But be assured that your predecessors, who graduated last year or last decade or three decades ago, are already working on the blueprint for recovery, and they know they will very soon need more new graduates from our Computer Science and Engineering programs to help them achieve their visions. To be an engineer or a computer scientist is a noble calling. You have the intellectual foundation in place now. The world needs you and your skills now as much as it ever has.
We wish you the best as you graduate and take the next steps in your career. We want you to know that you are backed by Hofstra’s faculty and network of alumni. We stand ready to help you should you need assistance with this step. After all, we and they know the value of the DeMatteis School education which you now possess.
Happy graduation, Class of 2020!