On hand to welcome the students into the "real world" was commencement speaker Gov. James McGreevey. This was the second time in eight days that the governor had graced the shores of the mile-square city. Last week he was in town to speak about his plans for waterfront revitalization.
This week he donned cap and gown and dished out tidbits of advice to the graduating class. For his efforts, McGreevey was bestowed with an honorary Doctorate of Engineering degree.
The governor divided his speech into three main sections.
In the first he told the told the student to be thankful for the hard work and dedication of their parents. He led all the students in saying a collective thank you to all of the parents in attendance.
"You must first and foremost thank those loved ones that helped get you here," said McGreevey durning his speech.
In the second part of his speech, the governor acted as a spokesperson for the state of New Jersey in an attempt to persuade the new graduates that the Garden State is a good place to settle down and make a living as a scientist or as an engineer.
"New Jersey has more research scientists than any state per capita in the entire nation," said the governor. "Stay and make your home in New Jersey, because it is truly on the cusp of the technological revolution."
McGreevey added that spurring growth and prosperity in New Jersey technology and biotechnology fields is one of his objectives as governor. "Our goal is to work together with the private sector to forge a successful position for New Jersey in the new economy," he said.
The third section of the governor's speech dealt with the nation as a whole. McGreevey noted that America is a different place since what happened on September 11.
"America, this nation needs leaders that understand the fundamental difference between right and wrong," he said. "Have the courage to be able to find the right course."
Also honored Thursday were the three first-in-class graduates that received perfect 4.0 grade point averages durning their time at the university. They were Alison Sleath, Sharad Mallya, and Dorothy Sippo.
Established in 1870, Stevens offers baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science, management and technology management, as well as a baccalaureate in the humanities and liberal arts. The university has a total enrollment of about 1,600 undergraduates and 2,600 graduate students.