Distinguished Alumnus Vik Verma Offers Stirring Keynote
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology conferred more than 1,200 degrees on students from the U.S. and around the world Saturday as the university held its spring commencement ceremonies.
At 9:30 a.m., the undergraduate ceremony featuring 542 students had the Charles and Ruth Clemente Center at near capacity. The 2 p.m. graduate ceremony, with 443 students crossing the stage, also drew an energetic crowd of family and friends.
Graduates hailed from 38 states and 70 countries, the highest number of countries represented in commencement in Florida Tech’s 60-year history. The international representation was literally A – Afghanistan and Algeria – to Z – Zimbabwe. China, India, Oman and Saudi Arabia were among the countries with the highest representation. Among the countries with a single graduate were Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Hungary, South Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Taiwan, Togo, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Among those graduating were 269 students from the university’s online programs and 181 from off-site programs. There are also 24 dual-degree recipients. In total the university will bestow 1,297 degrees.
Both ceremonies featured keynote addresses from distinguished Florida Tech alumnus and Board of Trustee member Vik Verma.
Verma, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Florida Tech in 1987 and has a nearly 30-year executive career with leading technology companies, told graduates of several “defining moments” in his life and what he learned from them. Initially being denied his student visa to leave his native India for the U.S., and then tracking down the visa officer who had first denied his request but ultimately relented, taught Verma to take a chance.
“Nothing is over until the very end so don’t give up,” he said.
Verma is CEO of Silicon Valley-based 8×8 Inc., the world’s first communications cloud provider and one of the most successful unified communications companies anywhere.
He also told graduates to always give their best effort, and how important it is to know their limitations and be honest with themselves.
Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay offered opening remarks at both ceremonies.