University News

President of Sikorsky Tells Graduates Commencement is ‘The Beginning of the Next Adventure’

As part of the University’s Spring Commencement, Paul Lemmo delivered the keynote address at the morning ceremony for graduates of the University’s Tagliatela College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Health Sciences. He shared with graduates several important lessons he has learned throughout his own life.

May 16, 2022

Four graduates, in cap and gown, pose for a photo.
Graduates celebrate at the University’s Spring Commencement morning ceremony.

When Joshua Bartholomew ’22 reflects on his favorite memories of his time at the University, he remembers collaborating with his classmates on group projects, always enjoying a great sense of camaraderie. He says they always got their work done while enjoying themselves, and that the experiences they had became some of the most interesting and exciting learning opportunities he participated in as a Charger.

A member of the University’s Honors Program, Bartholomew also had the opportunity to conduct faculty-mentored research. It was when he was first introduced to the computer programming language Python that his curiosity was piqued – inspiring his own exploration.

“I noticed there were no private variables in Python like there are in most of the other programming languages I had learned,” he explains. “Then, in several classes, we learned about the importance of private variables, so I became interested in why Python is used to the degree that it is. When the time came to choose a thesis topic, I thought of this and I realized it was the perfect opportunity to conduct hands-on research on a topic I was truly interested in.”

‘Part of the Charger family’

Bartholomew accepted his bachelor’s degree in computer science as part of the University’s morning Commencement ceremony. He was among more than 1,300 graduates who were recognized during two ceremonies.

The morning ceremony brought together graduates of the University’s Tagliatela College of Engineering – such as Bartholomew – as well as the School of Health Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences, who accepted their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

During the ceremony, the University community recognized Raymond Rolle ’22, a computer engineering major, who was killed in a car accident in New Haven last month. Members of his family traveled from their home in the Bahamas to attend Commencement and accepted Rolle’s degree on his behalf.

“You will always be part of the Charger family,” President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., told the Rolle family.

‘I wish for our resilience…”

The Class of 2022 also included Alice Yi ’22, a medical laboratory science major, who was only a sophomore when she was named the inaugural recipient of the University’s Bucknall Family Undergraduate Research or Experiential Learning Award for her cutting-edge research on a rare form of cancer. Yi, who will begin her career as a medical laboratory scientist in the clinical hematology laboratory at Yale New Haven Hospital, plans to pursue a doctorate in immunology or cell biology.

Sofia Martinez ’22, a communication major and president of the University’s Undergraduate Student Government Association, offered remarks and congratulations to her fellow graduates on behalf of the undergraduate student body.

"When our society meets the Class of 2022, this class, I hope that they think of our resilience, kindness, and compassion,” she said. “So, Class of 2022, I do not wish us solely to find happiness. I wish for our resilience when times get tough, kindness when the world gets cold, and compassion when we may feel ourselves grow cold.”

Sofia Martinez ’22
Sofia Martinez ’22 earned her bachelor’s degree in communication.
‘An opportunity to learn and grow’

Enoch Wang ’22 M.S., who earned his master’s degree in cybersecurity and networks, shared his own story as he spoke on behalf of the graduate student body. Wang discussed his trajectory from a student who took nearly seven years to complete his undergraduate degree to a graduate student with a GPA of almost 4.0, who has submitted research to The Digital Forensic Research Conference and who has secured a position as a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin, a leading global security and aerospace company. He encouraged his fellow graduates to continue their own growth.

“While we are accepting our degrees today, it is important to remember that learning can occur at any point in our lives,” Wang told his fellow graduates. “Whether we have already discovered and established our interests, or are still learning to get involved, we can step forward in any community, business, or organization in an effort to better distinguish ourselves.”

As part of the ceremony, Paul Lemmo ’22 Hon., delivered they keynote address. President of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, he oversees the largest business line within Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business area. Lemmo, who said his son is also a recent college graduate, commended the Class of 2022 for their resilience. He noted that, as they pursued their degrees through the pandemic, they developed perseverance, a virtue he said would serve them well.

Lemmo shared with graduates three important lessons he has learned in his own life. He urged them to make sure they loved whatever they chose to do, to take initiative, and to never stop learning.

“We call this day Commencement for a reason,” he said. “Yes, it’s the end of one stage of your life. But it’s the beginning of the next adventure. If you approach every situation as an opportunity to learn and grow, then those fork-in-the-road decisions will become a lot more intuitive.”

Enoch Wang ’22 M.S.
Enoch Wang ’22 M.S. offered remarks on behalf of the graduate student body
‘I have had a great deal of hands-on experience’

Following his keynote address, Lemmo was presented an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree in recognition of his distinguished career and his commitment to creating opportunities for the next generation of STEM professionals.

Alice Fischer, Ph.D., a dedicated educator who launched the University’s computer science program nearly four decades ago and who has written books about the components of programming language, was also presented an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree.

At the ceremony, President Kaplan announced that Dr. Fischer, along with her husband Michael, were making a $2 million gift to create the Alice E. and Michael J. Fischer Endowed Teaching Chair in Computer Science at the University to recruit and retain a prestigious faculty member who will teach core computer science skills and champion computer science education.

Bartholomew, one of Dr. Fischer’s students, is grateful for the opportunities he has had as a Charger, from his experiences in the classroom to his internship with the Kravit Group. He will begin his career at Barnum Financial Group.

“My time at the University has given me lots of experience working with others to accomplish a common goal,” he said. “It has given me leadership skills as well as communication skills which can translate to any environment. I have had a great deal of hands-on experience developing software both with high-end development tools and low-level programming languages. I am ready and excited for the next chapter.”

Alice Fischer, Ph.D.
Alice Fischer, Ph.D., earned an honorary doctorate as part of the ceremony