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Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Investiture: Class of 2013

Thayer’s graduating class was honored at Investiture, held June 8 at the Hopkins Center. Dean Joseph J. Helble presided over the presentation of hoods, caps, and awards to a record 178 recipients of B.E. and graduate degrees.

The annual Robert Fletcher Award, named for Thayer’s first dean and recognizing distinguished achievement and service in the highest tradition of the School, was presented to Subra Suresh, president-elect of Carnegie Mellon University and former director of the National Science Foundation.

“A great many of the challenges of the 21st century are issues that arise out of the engineering achievements of the 20th century,” Suresh told the graduates. “The success of the petroleum-based economy we built over the last century has given us the problem of how to control carbon emissions and slow climate change; the invention of nuclear technologies now leads to the challenge of preventing nuclear terrorism; the spread of instant global connectivity made possible by the Internet now presents the challenge of securing cyberspace, preserving citizens’ privacy, and protecting confidentiality of personal information; and the aeronautical engineering that transformed the global transportation system also means that infectious diseases can travel fast from anywhere on the planet to anywhere else, almost at the speed of sound, and threaten the planet with a deadly pandemic.”

FORWARD THINKING: Investiture speaker Subra Suresh wants engineers to better anticipate future consequences of technologies. Photograph by Mark Washburn.

Suresh asked graduates, “What do we engineers need to do differently in the 21st century in order to respond to the challenges of our time while also doing a much better job at anticipating future consequences?”

And he gave his insights on addressing these challenges. “First, by creatively engaging engineering with the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, we can better understand human interaction with technologies. Second, our new era of engineering and science is offering new tools and big data for observation and interpretation about our world, and these tools need to be carefully employed and managed. And third, our most difficult problems, and their solutions, are global ones, and working within that global context is essential.”

In his farewell to graduates, Dean Helble recounted some of the many accomplishments of the Class of 2013, including creating businesses, mentoring local youth, and showcasing inventions at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, Unite for Sight’s Global Health and Innovation Conference, and the National Sustainable Design Expo. “You took to heart the words inscribed on the side of our building,” he said. “You are without a doubt ready to take on the most responsible positions and the most challenging service.”

See videos, photos, and more from 2013 Investiture.

Class of 2013 Engineering Graduates

For more photos, visit our Investiture 2012 set on Flickr.

Categories: The Great Hall, Investiture

Tags: award, leadership, students

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