ENGINEERING NEWS

Graduate Students Celebrate Commencement

The December 15 ceremony featured remarks by Matthew Tirrell

Graduates proceed into Pick-Staiger Concert Hall for the Fall 2018 commencement ceremony. Credit: Joel WintermantleGraduates proceed into Pick-Staiger Concert Hall for the Fall 2018 commencement ceremony. Credit: Joel Wintermantle
A graduate listens to the address by Matthew Terrell ('73) on December 15. Credit: Joel WintermantleA graduate listens to the address by Matthew Terrell ('73) on December 15. Credit: Joel Wintermantle
Graduates applaud during the MS and PhD commencement ceremony in Pick-Staiger. Credit: Joel WintermantleGraduates applaud during the MS and PhD commencement ceremony in Pick-Staiger. Credit: Joel Wintermantle
A group of graduates pose following the commencement ceremony. Credit: Joel WintermantleA group of graduates pose following the commencement ceremony. Credit: Joel Wintermantle
Dean Julio M. Ottino reminds graduates to stay connected to Northwestern. Credit: Joel WintermantleDean Julio M. Ottino reminds graduates to stay connected to Northwestern. Credit: Joel Wintermantle
Matthew Tirrell ('73) discusses his time at Northwestern during the commencement address. Credit: Joel WintermantleMatthew Tirrell ('73) discusses his time at Northwestern during the commencement address. Credit: Joel Wintermantle
Northwestern Engineering celebrated its 361 master’s and 109 PhD graduates. Credit: Joel Wintermantle Northwestern Engineering celebrated its 361 master’s and 109 PhD graduates. Credit: Joel Wintermantle

Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science celebrated the graduation of its accomplished master’s and PhD students on Saturday, December 15.

Held in the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, the commencement recognized 361 master’s and 109 PhD candidates.

“You all have brought a diversity of thought and experience to your education, and you will leave not only with a degree, but with a community of some of the best minds in your fields,” said Northwestern Engineering Dean Julio M. Ottino.

The ceremony featured remarks by Matthew Tirrell (’73), a pioneering researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology. He is the founding Pritzker director and dean of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. He served as deputy laboratory director for science at Argonne National Laboratory from September 2015 to April 2018.

Tirrell reflected upon his time studying chemical engineering as an undergraduate at Northwestern Engineering, citing inspirational teaching and his experience in the cooperative engineering education program in his decision to pursue a path in academia.

“I can say with certainty that the foundational education I received at Northwestern, and especially some of the superb engineer faculty members here who helped me acquire it, were decisive factors in my choice of an academic career and in whatever success I have had in pursuing my career,” he said.

Tirrell encouraged graduates to remember the importance of providing clear explanations of their work through strong speaking and writing skills, regardless of what path they choose.

“No matter what direction your career takes you, take pride and care not only with the work that you do but in the manner you speak and write about it,” Tirrell said. “In doing that, you’ll gain not only the satisfaction of doing a good job, but you will find it easier to achieve and advance in your career, and you’ll create a legacy of influence on the careers of your colleagues around you.”

As the graduates embarked on the next step in their lives, Tirrell added, “You should have confidence that you are very well prepared to do something significant for humanity.”

Ottino agreed that the graduates are prepared for a lifetime of impact and encouraged the alumni 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.”

Watch the graduation ceremony video.