Dear 2020 MEMber Graduates,
On behalf of the entire faculty and professional staff of the department, I am delighted to congratulate you and your families on the significant milestone of earning your mechanical engineering degree from Drexel!
In this time of celebration, I remain stunned and deeply distressed by the tragic and brutal death of George Floyd, only the latest in a long list of black lives lost. I echo Dean Walker’s expressions of solidarity and support, and the urgency for dialogue and action to address and eliminate persistent hatred and bias on our campus. MEM is a committed partner in renewed efforts to substantively improve the diversity and inclusiveness of our department and community. We support each and every one of our students, and that extends to our alumni network with you as its newest members.
Your commencement next week marks the culmination of years of hard work, and now more than ever society needs talented, diverse, creative, dedicated and empathetic mechanical engineering citizen-leaders. You join a cadre of engineering professionals that spans the world and reaches into the cosmos, and I am incredibly proud of your many accomplishments in scholarship, research and innovation, and leadership.
As a Class of 2020 Dragon, you have been saddled with levels of uncertainty and disruption, and endured sacrifice not experienced by graduates in several generations. I applaud you for your perseverance, ongoing engagement and finishing strong despite the challenges: your resilience in the face of adversity will be a source of strength throughout your career.
I’d like to take a moment to celebrate just a few of the accomplishments of this year’s graduates:
- 8 MEM senior design teams received the Botstiber Endowed Fellowship for Inventors and Entrepreneurs;
- MEM Seniors along with Formula SAE won first place among rookie teams at the 2019 Formula SAE competition at Lincoln Airpark;
- Senior design teams received grants from NASA, Eaton Aerospace, ASME Philadelphia Section and the Spotted Lanternfly Mitigation Project, among others; and
- Senior-design-team-and-startup SafeSense was featured in Startup Fortune and Yahoo News for their innovative approach to rider safety.
When our founder Anthony J Drexel declared, “the world is going to change, and therefore the University must change with it,” he might not have imagined the rapidly unfolding pandemic and its impact on our ways of living and learning, and our livelihoods. But he would likely be elated by your readiness to apply what you have learned and experienced during your time at Drexel in service to society, the greater community and to our nation, as well as by your entrepreneurial spirit!
As you embark on your career, start a new job, pursue additional academic studies or other professional preparation, or perhaps you are called to a career in public service or you launch a new enterprise, I encourage you to stay in touch with fellow graduates and your alma mater. Look for ways you can stay connected with the department and its goings-on, leverage and expand your network, mentor and share your journey’s experiences with next generations of students, respond to calls to serve, and enhance the value of your degree.
Most of all, as Dr. Jablokow has likely reminded you at some time or another, don’t forget to have fun!
Jonathan Spanier, PhD
Professor and Department Head
Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics