Published 05/31/17

New beginnings for the Class of 2017

“As we walk through the Archway from today forward, embrace that tiny pang of fear of the unknown, and allow that fear to push you forward like wind at your back,” advised Hannah Goulian ’17, who gave the student charge at the Commencement exercises for undergraduates on Saturday, May 20.

It was a picture-perfect day for the undergraduate Commencement ceremony , where 873 students received baccalaureate degrees along with three distinguished honorary degree recipients.

The Commencement keynote speaker was  Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for GE.  Immelt has held several global leadership positions since joining the company in 1982 and has been named one of the "World's Best CEOs" three times by  Barron's.

“Get good at solving problems … That’s why I like Bryant’s focus on design thinking. Resiliency matters,” he told the graduates.

GE has been named "America's Most Admired Company" in a poll conducted by  Fortune  magazine, and one of "The World's Most Respected Companies" in polls by  Barron's  and the  Financial Times . GE has more than 300,000 employees in more than 180 countries worldwide.

Honorary degrees were also conferred upon Shobana Kamineni P’17, Executive Vice Chair of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, and Kati C. Machtley, Co-founder and Director of the Bryant University Women’s Summit ® .

Welcome to the Bryant family

Earlier that week, on May 18,   Gary E. Furtado ’78, ‘85 MBA,  President and Chief Executive Officer of Navigant Credit Union, delivered the address at the graduate programs Commencement ceremony and received an honorary degree.

“I want to welcome you to the Bryant family,” he said. “A graduate degree from Bryant University is incredibly valuable.”

In addition to every member of his senior management team at Navigant holding a Bryant degree, Furtado’s wife and daughter are also alumni. He shared these four important principles he follows that he believes have led to his success:

  • Be good to your employees and colleagues. Treat them like family, and choose building a good corporate culture over profits. It will pay off.
  • Be good to your customers. No matter what field you’re in, they’re part of your family too. When you treat your customers honestly, fairly, and like family, everyone wins.
  • Be good to your community. Respect and appreciate the communities you serve. Treasure the role you can serve. And acknowledge their role in your success. Make giving back a part of your lives.
  • Be a risk-taker. Follow your gut. Everyone makes mistakes – learn from them and give others a chance. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Link to videos of full speeches:

Read more about the honorary degree recipients .