Watson Commencement 2022: Endless possibilities await graduates
More than 400 undergraduate students received their diplomas at the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 22, at the Binghamton University Events Center. Doctoral and master’s candidates graduated at ceremonies on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
University President Harvey Stenger and Provost and Executive Vice President Donald Nieman welcomed the graduates and guests, as did Dean Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari.
Srihari hailed the Class of 2022 for its character and resilience, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person learning was interrupted.
“When we talk about celebrating the excellence of our campus, we are not referring to the bricks and mortar of the institution,” he said. “We are really talking about the people — faculty, staff and students — who have made Watson College and Binghamton University into what they are today: one of the top academic institutions in the nation, known for its excellence across the country and around the globe.”
The dean also offered advice to the Watson graduates as they embark on their careers.
“Listen. Be brave and inquisitive, but also respectful,” he said. “Seek a mentor; be a mentor. You will have challenges and perhaps you will make missteps — learn from them. Each experience is valuable, with positives and negatives. Embrace diversity. Always keep learning — lifelong learning is a necessity in our domain. Stay engaged with Watson College and our campus. Enjoy the ride! Remember — we are in the greatest field ever with endless possibilities.”
Two students spoke on behalf of the graduating class: Daniel Iacobacci and Emre Isiktekiner.
Iacobacci, a computer engineering major, talked about the importance of not giving up and allowing yourself to not expect perfection all the time.
“Watson students are the best type of people because we can do anything we set our minds to,” he said. “We know how to approach problems, define them and ultimately overcome them. One of the best feelings is being able to solve a problem you had no idea how to even start.”
Because he is enrolled in the Dual Diploma program, Isiktekiner earned two diplomas: a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Watson College and a degree in information systems engineering from Istanbul Technical University in his native Turkey.
He came to Binghamton on a scholarship earned because he had the highest GPA at Istanbul Tech, but because he “couldn’t speak a word of English,” he initially struggled with understanding his professors and the cultural knowledge that Americans take for granted.
“But in time, you, these beautiful people, have embraced me and I’ve had opportunities to continue my success here,” he said. “I joined social clubs, I was on the dean’s list, and I had the chance to live happily here with my own culture and with you. For that reason, I want to thank you all.”