Distinguished Alumni Huntley Lawrence,
Elizabeth Lunny Offer Keynote Addresses
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology conferred nearly 1,000 degrees on Saturday as the university unveiled a new format for its fall commencement ceremonies.
Combining what had been separate ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate students, Saturday’s commencement featured all levels of students grouped by college.
At 9:30 a.m., students from the College of Engineering and Computing, College of Science, and College of Aeronautics crossed the stage. An estimated 344 students were scheduled to participate.
At 2 p.m., students from the Nathan Bisk College of Business and the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts graduated. This ceremony included 370 students.
Additionally, there were 306 graduates from the university’s online programs, 186 graduates from off-site programs, and 10 dual degree recipients. In total there were 980 candidates for graduation for fall 2017.
Both ceremonies featured keynote addresses from distinguished Florida Tech alumni.
Huntley Lawrence, ’85 B.S., is the director of aviation at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he manages an airport system that includes JFK and LaGuardia international airports and boasts $2.4 billion in revenues and more than 1,500 employees. A winner of Florida Tech’s Outstanding Alumni award at this year’s Homecoming, Lawrence spoke at the morning ceremony.
“So graduates, beginning today, whether it’s an undergrad degree, graduate degree or doctorate, you are going to be measured not just by the grade, or on that midterm, or whether you answered that problem set. You are going to be judged starting today by the decisions you make, the attitude you take and the kindness you show along the way,” Huntley said in his remarks. “Success is going to be about finding your passion, walking with conviction, and being relentless and resilient when chasing after your dream.”
Elizabeth Lunny was featured at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Also a past winner of the university’s Outstanding Alumni award, Lunny, ’93 B.S., is the vice president of luxury and the publisher of T Magazine at The New York Times. Previous positions have included associate publisher of Women’s Health, vice president of integrated sales and marketing for Three Lions Entertainment, and various senior positions at Conde Nast, including advertising director of digital and print at Vogue.
President Dwayne McCay offered opening remarks at both ceremonies, and conferred two honorary doctoral degrees in the morning session. One went to Marilyn Link, who has been a visionary presence on Florida Tech’s Board of Trustees since 1984, where she currently serves as a Trustee Emerita. Her family’s Link Foundation has awarded grants to Florida Tech, and Link helped make possible the digitization of the Edwin A. Link Special Collection at the Evans Library, named for her brother. She has also established a charitable gift annuity at Florida Tech.
The other honorary degree was conferred on Lawrence Mertens, Ph.D., formerly the chief scientist at RCA and a close associate of Jerome Keuper, Florida Tech’s founder. Mertens would later teach several courses at Florida Tech. In 2015, Mertens and his wife Margarete established an endowed fellowship known as the Lawrence and Margarete Mertens Endowed Fellowship, benefiting graduate students in the College of Engineering and Computing. Mertens’ son, Thomas, accepted the degree on his father’s behalf.
For more information, go to www.fit.edu/graduation/.