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Legacy of Innovation: Portraits Unveiled of NYU Tandon Presidents Hultin and Sreenivasan

Portrait Unveil

Visitors to the Bern Dibner Library have the opportunity to view official portraits of the former Presidents of the School of Engineering, dating back to the Reverend John H. Raymond, who served from 1855 to 1864. They will now be able to see the newest additions to the wall of academic fame: former President Jerry Hultin and Tandon’s current dean and the final President of the school most famously known as Brooklyn Polytechnic, Katepalli Sreenivasan. The impressive works, by artist Jon R. Friedman, were unveiled on March 15.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, spoke at the unveiling and praised both men for “planting the seed of opportunity and hope within their students and fostering an understanding that the products students produce will not only be used here in Brooklyn, but across the entire globe.” Thanking them for their dedication to NYU Tandon, the borough, and the entire city, Adams said, “Many people see with their eyes, but you see with your hearts.”

There was universal agreement among the luminaries in attendance — who included NYU Shanghai Chancellor Yu Lizhong, Dean of the NYU College of Dentistry Charles N. Bertolami, and former NYU Provost David McLaughlin — that Sreenivasan and Hultin had, collectively, changed the face of engineering education and helped position Tandon on the global stage. “Both of these individuals have elevated this institution,” Craig Matthews, the former chairman of the school’s board of trustees, asserted.

President from 2005-2012, Hultin was instrumental in launching the successful affiliation between Poly and NYU in 2008 that culminated in the merger. “Jerry helped coin the phrase ‘i-squared-e’ — invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship,” Dennis Dintino, the senior vice dean for finance and administration at NYU Tandon, explained when he addressed the appreciative crowd at the library. “The result of the merger was that two great institutions came together and forged one brighter future.”

During his tenure thus far as head of the Tandon School of Engineering and NYU Dean of Engineering, Sreenivasan — as Matthews declared — has taken the school “to new heights and new levels.”

Sreeni, as he is affectionately known, whom Bertolami warmly described as a role model to him in his own leadership post, was lauded by several speakers for furthering Hultin’s legacy of innovation and cementing the school’s commitment to placing technology in service to society. Under his auspices, the Tandon community has seen the establishment of the Pilot Veterans Future Lab and Veteran Entrepreneurship Program within the Future Lab network, the launch of the NYU Makerspace, a significant increase in the number of aspiring female engineers in the student body, the establishment of the cutting-edge transportation research center C2SMART, and numerous other important initiatives.

“We have made great progress and this institution has become very strong,” Sreenivasan said as he and Hultin stood in front of their portraits. He affirmed, however, that he would not be resting on his laurels: “We still have a long way to go.”


Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018