Tandon’s 2024 Commencement Awards celebrated student leaders and high achievers who made a positive impact

dean hugging student on stage

Zihan (Dorothy) Zhang receives a hug from Dean Jelena Kovačević as she comes on stage to receive the Dean's Award for Outstanding Scholarship

The School of Engineering’s annual Commencement and Achievement Awards, held on May 7, 2024, featured a short lesson on Tandon history, literary allusions, and plenty of cheers and hugs.

Associate Dean of Student Life & Services Rosemary Ampuero kicked off the festivities by describing the genesis of the awards, which were launched four decades ago, at the urging of senior university administrator Edward DeCarbo, Jr. and Professor Myron M. Rosenthal, who felt that a ceremony communally honoring stellar students from every department would be fitting and well-deserved. (Rosenthal went on to endow many awards, and his name is frequently mentioned as the recipients are announced.)

the dean speaking at a podium with floral arrangement in front
Dean Jelena Kovačević

During her remarks, Dean Jelena Kovačević invoked a popular quote often attributed to Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you figure out why." She continued, “I think everyone being honored this evening is well on the path to figuring out their ‘why’ — in other words, their purpose. "You’re all here because you understand the importance of working hard, learning all you can, reaching for a goal, and leading others to do the same. You’ve excelled at Tandon, and you're ready to use your talents to change the world, whether that means developing new biomaterials to aid in the treatment of cancer patients, helping bring clean water to under-resourced parts of the world, working to keep our cybersystems safe, or any of the other vital contributions you’ve been making during your time here.”

Department chairs took to the stage to extol outstanding students — among them club leaders, stellar dissertation writers, those who had worked to make NYU Tandon a more inclusive and welcoming place, and more than a few with GPAs in the stratosphere. There was good reason for incoming Undergraduate Student Council President Shreya Manjrekar to assert in her address, “I’m proud to say that I come from the same academic community as you all, and I hope you are just as proud of yourselves and your peers.” Incoming Graduate Student Council President Anthony Nikhil Reddy Lingala also addressed the attendees in Pfizer Auditorium, saying, “You have left an indelible mark on the university, contributing to a positive and supportive learning environment through your roles as TAs, GAs, club members, volunteers, and project leads. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed!”

They were certainly noticed on May 7 — and deservedly honored, feted, and saluted.