ENGINEERING NEWS

McCormick Graduate Students Celebrate 159th Commencement

Dean Julio M. Ottino, Charlie Kuehmann, Mike Walsh, and Bob Gariano delivered remarks

Outside of Tech, graduates toss their hats into the air after the ceremony.Outside of Tech, graduates toss their hats into the air after the ceremony.
Graduates applaud their classmates at the master's degree ceremonies.Graduates applaud their classmates at the master's degree ceremonies.
Graduates pose for a photo outside of Tech.Graduates pose for a photo outside of Tech.
Graduates celebrate after the master's degree ceremonies.Graduates celebrate after the master's degree ceremonies.
Graduates take photos before the master's degree ceremonies in Tech.Graduates take photos before the master's degree ceremonies in Tech.
Graduates smile after processing into Tech's Ryan Family Auditorium.Graduates smile after processing into Tech's Ryan Family Auditorium.
MMM students applaud their classmates at the master's ceremony.MMM students applaud their classmates at the master's ceremony.
After the ceremony, graduates celebrate outside of Tech.After the ceremony, graduates celebrate outside of Tech.
After the ceremony, graduates celebrate with confetti outside of Tech.After the ceremony, graduates celebrate with confetti outside of Tech.

Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering celebrated the graduation of hundreds of accomplished master’s and PhD students on June 16 and 17 as a part of the University’s 159th Commencement. Three ceremonies in the Technological Institute’s Ryan Family Auditorium recognized 237 graduating master’s students and 97 PhDs.

McCormick Dean Julio M. Ottino kicked off the ceremonies by praising graduates for their hard work and determination and by thanking friends and family who shared in the many sacrifices, challenges, and successes of graduate study. He told graduates that they now have the skills needed to succeed in the world.

“You showed us that you are always ready to learn more, to tackle difficult problems, and to ultimately find success,” Ottino said. “You will take that with you wherever you go.”

Charlie KuehmannCharlie Kuehmann (PhD ’94), vice president of materials engineering at SpaceX and Tesla, Inc., addressed graduates at the PhD Hooding Ceremony. Kuehmann shared three pieces of advice with graduates: be grateful, make a dent in the world, and recognize fellow graduates as family.

“The relationships I’ve built within the Northwestern family have been invaluable to me,” Kuehmann said. “Whenever I meet a fellow Wildcat, there’s always a shared bond that makes it easier to communicate and provides a willingness to listen. In today’s flood of social media, remember: relationships are built on shared experiences, not on selfies, funny cat videos, a tweet, or on Instagram.”

The following day, graduates of McCormick’s professional master’s programs gathered for an address delivered by Bob Gariano, founder of nationally recognized search firm Robert Gariano Associates. He encouraged technical leaders to embrace new ideas and give their teams the freedom to pursue new possibilities — even if the outcome is uncertain.

Bob Gariano“New knowledge and new inventions almost never come in a straight-line process,” Gariano said. “The process is a circuitous affair with unexpected outcomes. There may be very little to report to management for monthly review or quarterly releases, but every successful technology company that I know gives their best and brightest researchers and scientists the elbow room and the resources to pursue new ideas that don’t seem to have an immediate pay off.”

McCormick’s Master’s Degree Recognition Ceremony featured Mike Walsh (MS ’83), chief security officer and head of R&D at Quotient. He discussed lessons learned from his 32-year career in software development and shared his amazement for the ways technology has grown.

“Your degrees are a passport to any part of society,” Walsh said. “Technology is no longer an isolated endeavor, but one essential to our daily lives. We’re an inseparable part of business, art, government, non-profit, and even academia.”

Ottino ended the ceremonies by congratulating the graduates and urging them to stay in touch.

“Although your careers may take you far from campus, we hope to see and hear from you on a frequent basis,” Ottino said. “As alumni, you are the source of our value. We are only as good as the people that we produce. I am eager to see what you will accomplish.”