John Zogby inspires at 2016 Convocation

September 2016

International Pollster and Best Selling Author John Zogby addresses the Class of 2020 at the Fall 2016 Convocation Ceremony.

With a blue paw waving in the air, and the occasional furry high-five, Walter the Wildcat greeted new students as they made their way into the Field House and to both the ceremony of convocation, and the official beginning of the Class of 2020’s academic journey at SUNY Poly.

As do most higher education institutions, SUNY Poly holds convocation to formally mark the start of the academic year, welcoming new students and welcoming back faculty, staff, and administrators.

The September 1 ceremony also serves to reaffirm SUNY Poly’s commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, and the academic, cultural, and social growth of the entire community.

The 2016 Convocation Keynote Speaker was internationally respected pollster John Zogby, founder of the Zogby Poll, opinion leader and best-selling author.

“You were selected, the class of 2020, from the largest applicant pool we’ve ever had and you have the largest SAT score in our institution’s history,” said Richard ‘Rit’ Fuller, Vice President for Enrollment Management.

They come from all over the world, including nine different states here in the U.S.

“Have you seen snow?” Rit jokingly asked a student who came from California.

Student Association President Samantha Stewart pulled from her own experiences as she addressed the crowd, telling them she looks back with regret on not getting involved in student activities sooner, and the fulfillment she later found from getting involved in the SUNY Poly community.

“I began hosting my own events. Events I had no care for my freshmen year. I got involved in campus life. I learned you are more than a number here. You are a friend, and a member of the Wildcat family,” Stewart told the crowd. “Change is the only constant. Look around and participate.”

With so many incoming freshmen present, the room was filled with the potential to make a difference in the world around us – not in some far off future, but here in our own lifetime. It’s something speakers and administrators such as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Robert Geer couldn’t stress enough.

“It’s STEM careers that are really changing the world and the way we live,” Dr. Geer said. “When I look at what SUNY Poly is doing, it’s about changing the world, and that’s exactly what you’ll do.”

“We look forward to watching you grow over the next four years and contribute to your success,” said Associate Provost Marybeth Lyons. “And you will succeed.”

Convocation keynote speaker John Zogby, international pollster and best-selling author, started out by telling the crowd that the first human being who will live to be 500 has been born already and that this is the first time we are able to talk about eradicating poverty in our lifetime.

“What an exciting time it is to be you,” Zogby told the students. “And to be here. A cutting edge school. Smart, young people. The future is so bright.”

Zogby highlighted the current generation of students who grew up in a world of fast-paced technology, that has become accustomed to technology quickly becoming obsolete, but also a generation that is even more quickly able to catch-up to, adapt to, and master the latest technology that follows. He also noted that this generation of “millennials” (born between 1979 and 1998, according to Zogby), are the first to truly appreciate the concept of diversity.

“What makes you so different from other previous generations is that you have no ‘other’ when it comes to cultures and background. You see everyone as the same,” Zogby said. “You have as much to teach us as we have to teach you.”

His words of wisdom and guidance were met with a resounding applause from students, staff, and faculty alike.

Zogby ended with a simple, but important piece of advice.

“Keep your eyes on the prize.”