As degree candidates gathered in Temple Performing Arts Center in December, they did so as part of a ceremony that celebrated their achievements and also challenged them to remember where they came from. The college is set to enter its 50th anniversary year, as Dean Keya Sadeghipour noted, when imploring students to remember Temple while embracing the pace of change in engineering.
"Think about how Temple, how Philadelphia and how the world has changed since the 1970s, and how engineering has helped to power progress ever since," Dean Sadeghipour said. "Your talents are not only welcome, they are necessary. So, it's important to take a step back and think: what need will you identify? What problem will you solve?"
Alumni keynote speaker Victor Kernus (ENG, 96), partner with law firm Cantor Colburn LLP, shared his story of resilience. Following an accident working as an electrician that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Kernus recalled that wisdom from a Recon Marine that inspired him to begin a new career, ultimately becoming a patent attorney.
"During a problem-solving exercise, when I was at my wits end, and everyone was saying that there was no way forward, that he said to me 'Victor, nothing is impossible to the man who refuses to listen to reason. Don't listen to why you can't do something, look for ways that it can be done. Go over, around, under, or make a path through, but there is always a path forward.'"
Kernus was followed by student speaker Jezreel Konstantinos (ME, 19), who echoed his sentiments, noting that her experience was dotted with setbacks. Those setbacks, she argued, made her work harder to succeed.
"I did not overcome all of the setbacks and failures I've faced earning this degree to just sit back comfortably and be a part of the world around me," sha said. "I'm here to change it."
See highlights from the ceremony below