Purple Robes, Pomp, and Plenty of Celebrating

Commencement 2017

graduates at the 2017 commencement

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering took over the Barclays Center on May 16 for its 162nd Commencement, and almost 2,000 grads walked the stage to shake the hand of Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan and receive their well-deserved degrees. Studying STEM, as many speakers noted, takes an incredible amount of drive and passion, and it's a safe bet that most had worked and sweated harder to get to that day than any NBA team member who ever played that storied venue. And judging by the cheering and picture-taking on the part of family and friends in the audience, they had all won a fervent group of fans.

Watch out Brooklyn Nets: there's a new group of stars in town now.

The Playlist:

“Pomp and Circumstance” (of course)

“The Palisades” (NYU’s alma mater, written by a member of the Class of 1900)

“The Star Spangled Banner” (sung by civil and urban engineer Elizabeth Jule, from the Class of 2017)

“Empire State of Mind” (by Jay-Z, because that’s just how we roll)

dummer at 2017 commencement

The Speakers:

Chandrika Tandon

Chandrika Tandon

Chairperson of the NYU Tandon Board

“Go forth with great confidence. Go forth with great courage. Go forth with great compassion.”


Katepalli Sreenivasan

Katepalli Sreenivasan

Dean of NYU Tandon School of Engineering

“In an era in which 2.4 billion people in the world lack adequate sanitation system and after more than 130 years not everyone has access to electricity, it’s not enough to think righteous thoughts about improving the world. As scientists and engineers, you must be stirred to action.”


Gerald Dawes

Gerald Dawes

President of the Polytechnic Alumni Association

“You share an alma mater with such luminaries as astronauts Charlie Camarda and Paolo Nespoli; Nobel laureate Martin Perl; and – if you need any reminder that youth is no barrier to accomplishment – a 2015 graduate named Nina Freeman who was recently named one of the most important young figures in the video game industry by Forbes magazine.”


Robert Millard

Robert B. Millard

Chairman of the MIT Corporation

“We engineered our way into the modern world and we’re engineering ourselves into the world of the future at an ever-accelerating rate.”


Peter Finch

Peter Finch

Valedictorian (BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

“Our studies here have taught us a way of thinking and approaching problems: a juxtaposition of, on the one hand, understanding just how complex the universe is, and on the other, a belief that there are solutions to be found for society’s problems if we work at them.”


Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton

President of NYU

"You are the anchor of all of NYU's activities in Brooklyn. . . . You represent the best of Tandon and the best of NYU in talent, ingenuity, and boldness."

student taking a selfie at 2017 commencement

The Numbers:

9,577 = viewers who live-streamed the ceremony

60 = countries across six continents from which viewers watched

51 = doctoral degrees 
496 = bachelor’s degrees 
1357 = master’s degrees 

Countless = selfies taken

Watch the 2017 Commencement video