Tufts University School of Engineering Graduate Programs Commencement Ceremony 2019

Tufts University School of Engineering Graduate Programs Commencement Ceremony 2019

August 19, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Ladies and gentlemen may I have your
attention please. Welcome to the 2019 Commencement Ceremony for the School of
Engineering, Graduate Programs. It is now my pleasure as the Dean for
Graduate Education to introduce the deans, department chairs, distinguished
guests, graduates, and families. Please welcome our faculty, our deans to the
stage Ladies and gentlemen, welcome I’m Karen
Panetta and I’m honored today as the Dean of Graduate Education to welcome
the candidates for the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science and
Engineering Management, Master of Science and Innovation and Management, Master of
Science, and Master of Engineering. Let’s congratulate them. We can all now please
be seated. We’ll start our ceremonies. Please now
welcome the Dean for the School of Engineering Dr. Jianmin Qu. Thank You Dean Panetta and thank you all
for joining us today for the 2019 engineering graduate program ceremonies. On behalf of the School of Engineering, I
welcome you to Tufts. We’re here today to celebrate those who are graduating with
with Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy
degrees. These ceremonies symbolize the completion of the candidates passage
from being students to being masters of their disciplines. The road
to a graduate degree is long and often arduous. You have to be curious and
continuously pushing yourself to new heights. You have to persevere and be
willing to accept failure when that happens, and most importantly you have to
be tenacious and hard-working. If you are sitting there today with your robes on
you know what I’m talking about. Now all that hard work has paid off. You
are about to graduate. You can tell yourself very proudly you have made it,
congratulations. In this happy moment let us not forget
how we got here Let us extend our heartfelt gratitude
and appreciation to those who have helped us to get here and made today
possible. Can I ask all the parents, grandparents,
spouse, family members, siblings, and friends of our graduates to stand up and
be recognized. Thank you all for being part of our
graduate lives. Your love, your support, and your encouragement have made a huge
difference. You all deserve a big round of applause again. A university is only a
collection of empty buildings if not for its faculty and staff. It is a faculty
who weaves the curriculum into an education. It is staff who organize the
campus life on a daily basis. So I would like to ask the faculty, the staff to
stand up and be recognized for their contributions to the success of our
graduates today. Thank you. Graduates, you are about to
embark on your new careers. I have invited someone who has been in
your shoes before to share with you his wisdom and experience. Dr. Michael Tzannes
was a valedictorian of his undergrad class at the University of Patras in
Greece. He then came to the US and earned a
master’s degree in electrical engineer from the University of Michigan. That’s
when he realized that there’s no place on earth like Tufts, so he came to campus and earned a PhD in electrical engineering from Tufts
University in 1990. Since then he had to spend his career in technology companies
that improved the way people process and share information. He was previously
chief executive of Aware a Bedford, Massachusetts company which pioneered the
high-speed digital subscriber LAN technology that was used to deliver
broadband to millions of homes around the world. Accusonus, which Dr. Tzannes co-founded in 2015, uses artificial
intelligence in software products to improve the way people restore and
repair audio recordings and create music. An innovator and inventor, Dr. Tzannes patents cover
a wide range of applications in DSL communications Wi-Fi and the transform-based audio processing. He enjoys the process of innovation, product
development, business development, and team-building. He also served as a mentor
and the investor on several corporate boards. In his spare time, like many Tufts
Jumbos, Dr. Tzannes plays keyboards in the classic
rock cover band called French Lick. I won’t ask you where the name come from
and that band performs a charity event throughout the Boston area.
Dr. Tzannes and his wife Kelly, who is joining us today, live in Lexington. They
have three children. Dr. Tzannes, thank you for joining us today and the floor is
yours. Thank You Dr. Qu. To those of you from out
of town, welcome to another glorious day in New England. The weather is always
like this here. To those of you who live here and know that what I just said
isn’t true, I think you should look at today’s beautiful weather as a good omen
for your futures. It’s a great honor for me to be here today. I want to thank Dean
Qu. I want to thank Adam and Amy who organized this event and helped prepare
me. It’s a very special day for all of you and it is a honor for me to be here
talking to all of you. Graduates, today is a big deal, getting a graduate degree in
engineering is really difficult as all of you know. When I try to think about
how to explain that to non-degree recipients of graduate degrees in
engineering, which I think would be worth doing because your families and friends
are here and it’d be nice to hear what this involves, A couple of expressions
that are reasonably well known come to mind. The first one is in theory, theory
and practice are the same, but in practice they are not. What this is
really saying to the engineers that practice is more important than theory
and as engineers of course we are all about practice. The other one I like and
I’m paraphrasing this somewhat is nothing slays a beautiful hypothesis
like an ugly fact. We are all about the facts and of course it means that the
facts sort of trumps the hypothesis. Now the irony is that getting a graduate
degree in engineering requires mastering both the theory and the practice. Dean Qu
did a very nice job talking about the gauntlet, the trajectory you all have
have had to follow to get to today. It is not easy and you’ve had to master both
of these things and this makes you really special, it puts you in an elite
class. Parents, friends, family, loved ones, this is the engineering elite of
tomorrow. Of course today is a day of celebration,
but I would like to point out some things, having been an engineer for years
myself, having spent a lot of time around engineers with graduate degrees in my
work and personal life, there are some idiosyncrasies that some of us might
display that I would like to talk about. Think of it as sort of baggage that
comes with the status of being elite. I don’t know whether this baggage came
about because of the program you went through. I don’t know if you were already
like that, those of you who are, and that was what drove you to this
program, but regardless you have certain idiosyncrasies. One is you analyze things
potentially not all of you some of you too much
I certainly do. That’s appropriate in our field of study that’s how we got
to where we are, but when I pick a restaurant I drive my family crazy
because I have to research every possibility and once I choose one and
they say that sounds great I go back I second-guess myself and I do it all
again that’s annoying we tend to be know-it-alls we tend to
think we know things that maybe we really don’t and that’s because the
process that we’ve all gone through to get to where you are today involves
studying and now analyzing learning what other people did putting something new
together we think we can apply that to anything and in fact we think we can do
it better than people who actually know how to do it that’s kind of arrogant and
even though this is a bit of a tired cliché some of us not all of us are
still a bit socially awkward and we’re very results oriented and results are
certainly important but as you go forth you’ll see that in life results aren’t
everything there are a lot of other things in life that matter a lot so let
me talk about a concrete example of what I’m talking about and it’s about here
today and me so when I got the very flattering invitation from Dean Qu to
speak to you all today the next step was preparing this speech so I went
about it as any good engineer would I did my analysis I read and listened to
an inordinate number of previous speeches I made notes I made graphs of the characteristics of
the speech that I thought were good I made flowcharts I made block diagrams
with inputs and outputs of the various steps of the speech I mastered the
theory of the commencement speech and then I moved to the implementation of
the speech that involves computational metrics like word counts and time of
speech and of course the lab work and the prototypes which involves me
rehearsing the speech to anyone who would listen and once all this is done
because I followed a process that I know is tried-and-true I am confident that
this is a good speech Engineers can also be forgetful and I
I’ve just forgotten what I’m supposed to say next and we can also be funny but in
an awkward sort of way just like that. parents families friends
loved ones despite whatever idiosyncrasies your engineers have, today
marks a beautiful day for them and the future for them has never been brighter
you should all be exceedingly proud of their accomplishments graduates you are
problem solvers what drove you here what enabled you to finish this challenging
program that you’ve each finished at the end of the day was hope hope that you
could change that you could improve that you could discover that you could solve
problems whether it’s better energy cleaner water faster communications
better networks breakthroughs in biotech and biomedical and material science
human robot interactions and medical fields and as you move on that hope can
continue to drive you you need to leverage up what you’ve learned now to
the next phase of your lives and indeed life is a lot about
leveraging up what the previous phase was into the next phase you’ll face
challenges I think Dean Qu mentioned this you’ll face challenges there’s no
question that there will be paths that don’t lead where you would like them to
lead or there will be places where you really have to prevail and you have to
be persistent and you will you’ve already done that you know how to do
that in fact as Thomas Edison said very eloquently I think I have not failed I
have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work you will likely do that and you’ll
be fine because even though you might be a little awkward and a little arrogant
and a little annoying you are persistent you’ve developed tools here you know how
to create you know how to break you know how to debug you know how to fix you
know how to analyze and you now can really make a difference Caitlin Van
Wicklin graduating today with a master’s degree in biomedical
engineering you can make a difference Lisa Fantini getting a master’s degree
today an electrical engineering you can make a difference the opportunities
ahead of you are vast the technology and engineering world that you’re entering
is actually an interesting one the intersection of technology and
engineering the society and humanity is adding a level of intensity that may be
unprecedented we have machines that can learn things with big data we can teach
something to do pretty much anything else we have communications that are
ubiquitous anyone in the world can communicate with anyone else and
actually with a large number of people more easily than ever before and that’s
all good for the most part but it can also be nefarious it can also mean that
misinformation can get spread or cyber crime can be performed and security and
privacy issues can be breached your opportunity your responsibility in my
opinion is that you take what you’ve learned you take the skills and the
knowledge and the ability that you have to make a difference and do it for good
causes imagine a world of people like yourselves willing to analyze
overanalyze sometimes willing to study willing to engineer willing to solve
problems that they might not know too much about with confidence focused on
changing the world for the better that can be your world
and that should be your world there’s no oath in engineering the lawyers and the
doctors take an oath I think an engineering oath that is as simple as I
will use what I learned in engineering to do good for the world would be
appropriate if you feel that way take it to yourself there’s no such official
thing thirty years ago as Dean Qu mentioned I was sitting where you’re
sitting and since then I’ve learned a few things and I’ll just share a few of
them one is that spending your energy on something that you really can’t control
is kind of a waste of time at Aware the company that I worked at
for a long time we developed technology that enabled DSL telephone lines to go
faster than they ever had gone before our investors actually some of them
criticized us for this they said well this technology’s not going to do
anything if the phone companies don’t deploy it and that was true but that was
out of our control what was in our control was to make the technology
reliable cost-effective scalable as bandwidth became in higher and higher
demand and eventually these things came together and today there are over 500
million DSL lines serving broadband around the world the other thing that I
found very important as I look back on my life is the importance of teams
certainly your work team is going to be a team that immediately comes to mind we
always think about our work teams and certainly a work team is important in
fact who your team is in many cases may be more important than what your team is
working on whether you’re a leader in the team or not is secondary engage in
the team appreciate the team interact with the team where the team is probably
shouldn’t matter too much either especially early in your career I had a
mentor who explained to me that I should follow the harvest meaning don’t get
tethered to a location follow the follow what you think makes the most sense from
a team perspective other teams of course
in our lives our if not the say of the same level of importance you know at
least the same level importance our families our friends today around us
today are surrounded by them obviously thanking them is a big deal
celebrating with them is also a big deal you should celebrate with the team with
whom you’ve made certain accomplishments and there are teams in areas that aren’t
either personal or professional you can call them hobbies you can call them
extracurricular activities you can call them charities whatever activity that
fulfils you in other ways is an important part of defining who you are
the people I play music with in that French Lick band and the people that I
travel with or that I play sports with are some of the best interpersonal
relationships I have mentors within your teams are also very important finding
people who are willing to mentor you tell them you want them to be your
mentor it’s an invaluable resource in your lives and as you progress in life
and you have more time and more money consider the institutions and the places
that help you get along like Tufts University let me say a few things more
about Tufts University because it’s a very special place to me this is a
world-renowned institution with disciplines across numerous areas
covering a broad array of capabilities and yet it remains a small and warm
community and I think that’s a testament to the faculty and the staff and the
administrators here who have made this university such a welcoming place Eric
Miller who chairs ably the electrical and computer engineering department Ron
Lassar who won his third Teacher of the Year award also an electrical computer
engineering these are members of this society in this community who make it
what they are and I’d like to remember one member
who was very meaningful to me he was my PhD adviser here his name was Joseph
Noonan he passed away last year and he was a man who used engineering to indeed
change the world for the better so wrapping up you’ve all worked hard to
get here you’ve got the tools to make a difference you will have tremendous
opportunity in front of you congratulations good luck and please go
change the world for the better thank thank you thank you Michael
for these down-to-earth advices I’m sure our graduates will take them to heart
now on behalf of the school engineering I would like to present to you the
engineering dean’s medal for your work in building solutions that enhance the
quality of lives now I turned the ceremony back to Dean
Karen Panetta Thank You Dean Qu ladies and gentlemen we
shall now begin the presentation of the degrees we shall now recognize the candidates
for the degree of master of science and engineering management will the
candidates please rise and proceed to the stage I have the honor to present to you the
candidates for the degree of a Master of Science in engineering management I
would like to ask Kevin Oye, interim executive director of Tufts Gordon Institute to join me in congratulating these candidates Professor Mary Viola we’ll announce our
graduates congratulations to newly confirmed
master of science and engineering management graduates we shall now recognize the
candidates for the degree of Master of Science and Innovation and management
will the candidates please rise and proceed to the stage I have an honor to
present to you the candidates for the degree of Master of Science in
innovation and management. Professor Kevin Oye will continue to join me to
congratulate the candidates professor Samuel Liggero will announce our
graduates congratulations to the newly confirmed
master of science and innovation management graduates we shall now recognize the
candidates for the degree of masters science and engineering and Master of
Science and Engineering I was testing to see if you were awake
will the candidates please rise and continue to the stage I have an honor to
present to you the candidates for the second degree in engineering the degree
of a master of a science or master of engineering I would like to ask Karen
Panetta the dean of graduate education to join me in congratulating these
candidates professor Eric Miller from the
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will read the names of the
graduates see the problem is we give away so many
different programs that we’re gonna celebrate our combined degree candidates
next so these are going to be double jumbo so let’s welcome them to the stage and professor Miller will continue to
read the names and Dean Qu and I will congratulate these students I have the
honor to present to you candidates for the degree of a Bachelor of Science and
Master of Science congratulations to our new double
Jumbos and the combined degree program will the candidates for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy begin to approach the stage and be joined by their
respective faculty advisor as their name is called I’m pleased to certify that candidates
have completed all requirements for the degree of the doctor of philosophy have
demonstrated by preparation of a written dissertation and the oral examination
the sound and the mature scholarship required of recipient of this high
degree in the department of biomedical engineering we honor the following PhD
graduates so I just want to let you know that what happens is advisors are asked
to read a statement I will be reading the statement from their advisor as a
personal message to the Graduate congratulations to all of our newly
confirmed PhD graduates, congratulations doctors Dean Qu will now conclude today’s
ceremonies please remain seated until the platform party has departed the
stage and the graduates have completed their recessional then please join us in
the rear of the gymnasium for a celebratory celebration graduates
your time at Tufts is coming to a close your career may take you far away from
Tufts but I hope that no matter how far you go you will always carry with you
the lifelong connections and the community you have forged here it has
been a privilege to share this time in your lives this is the only the
beginning on behalf of the Tufts University and the trustees I announce
that these ceremonies conclude thank you