Celebrating Poly's 160th Commencement

2015 comencement

We’re celebrating:

160th Commencement

On Thursday, May 21, 2015, the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering will hold its 160th commencement ceremony, when a new group of graduates (469 Bachelor Degrees, 1,236 Masters Degrees and 44 Doctoral Degrees) will join a long line of alumni who have helped change the world. In recent years we’ve set new records in detecting the smallest single virus particles, paved the way for 5G communication, and developed custom-fitted exoskeletons that are enabling the disabled to walk. From devising the lock system for the Panama Canal and making possible the mass production of penicillin to founding the world’s first semiconductor company, designing NASA’s first Lunar Module, and healing wounds with revolutionary polymer technology, throughout history our students have consistently demonstrated the value of an engineering education.

Polytechnic Medal Awardees

The Polytechnic Medal was created to commemorate the values that have made Poly a home to innovation and opportunity since its inception in 1854.  Cast upon the medal are the phrases Virtus Victrix Fortunae (Virtue is the Victor over Fate) and Homo Et Hominis Opera Partes Naturae (Human Beings and Human Works Are Parts of Nature).  These phrases, which belong to the rich history of Poly, allude to the noblest goals of engineers and engineering: bringing technology to society and ensuring that their work respects the primacy of nature while pushing the bounds of human achievement.  An equally important feature of the medal is the Brooklyn Bridge, whose cables could not have been manufactured without technology developed by a Poly alum. Bridging two great boroughs and exemplifying strength and support, those cables were part of a vision for future infrastructure and have contributed to making New York City an even more dynamic place ever since.

This year’s recipients are perfect examples of that which makes the medal special.

John Browne, the Executive Chairman of L1 Energy and a member of the British House of Lords, is a fellow and former president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Royal Society, and chairman of the trustees of the Queen Elizabeth II Prize for Engineering, among other titles. A strong advocate for exploring innovative, alternative energy sources, he was voted Most Admired CEO by Management Today multiple times. Browne was knighted in 1998 and made a life peer in 2001. He is the author of the memoir Beyond Business, the popular science book Seven Elements that Changed the World, The Glass Closet, a commentary on the acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people in business and forthcoming book, Connect, to be published in September 2015, which examines how companies can succeed by engaging with society.

Fred Wilson, the founder and managing partner of Union Square Ventures, was called "the face of New York's tech revival" by Crain's. His investment focus is on Web 2.0 companies, with a portfolio that includes CrowdRise, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Twitter, and Zynga.  He is an active blogger whose writings can be found at AVC.com, as well as a member of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Board and a trustee of New York University. As a devoted member of the New York City community, Wilson has been an especially staunch supporter of our Center for K12 STEM Education and our many entrepreneurial training initiatives, thus ensuring that new generations of students are equipped to make their own marks on the world.


Brooklyn native Efrayim D Zitron earns a B.S. in Computer Engineering and the congratulations of the entire university community. He’s a member of two honor societies, Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi, and potential employers were as impressed as we are; he already has a job at a major company working on big-data analytics. He’s the first engineer in his family and says that he, like many of his classmates, chose the field “because we see the world before us as unfinished, incomplete, and a primal urge directs us to understand how the world works, with all its complexities and intricacies, and how we can use that knowledge to better it."

Distinguished Teacher

Each year, the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering honors an educator with an unshakeable personal commitment to student learning; an exemplary pedagogical approach; accessibility to students both in and out of classroom; and ability to develop new curricula, new courses, and new laboratory experiments.

The 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award is Anne Dudek Ronan, Industry Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering. Known for demanding hard work and rigor from both her students and herself, she has also been the recipient of two Excellence in Teaching Awards from Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society, among other such laurels.

Impressive Venue

Commencement is held at one of Brooklyn’s newest landmarks, the Barclays Center. Thousands of proud friends and family members are expected to be in attendance at the arena, which will be bathed in NYU violet for the occasion.

Congratulations to all graduates and their families.