As Tyler Franco ’16 stood at the lectern at the 2016 Honors Convocation, he told himself to “just enjoy this moment because it’s not every day that you get to do something like this!”
Franco, a Macaulay Honors College graduate, delivered a moving speech at Tuesday evening’s ceremony in the Center for the Arts that was not without some humor.
“When I was first told that I was salutatorian and would be speaking to you all today, I was thrilled. After all, what’s better than an extra homework assignment during finals, and then getting to read it in front of hundreds of people?”
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He did strike a serious note as well, emphasizing that “while the idea of starting something new may be intimidating, it is also wrought with opportunity. Yes, we may be able to go out and travel the world or get a high-paying job in our field, but as college graduates, we also have the opportunity to make the world a better place.”
An Electrical Engineering and Engineering Science major with a minor in Mathematics, Franco will begin working as an engineer for the Port Authority of NY&NJ this summer.
“I hope to continue working as an engineer and to eventually leave my mark by working on some of the largest projects in the Tri-state area,” Franco stated.
He commended the faculty and staff at CSI for their support over the course of his four years at the College.
“Macaulay advisors Lisa French, Anita Romano, and Dr. Charles Liu have been incredibly helpful to me over the last four years. They have always made themselves available to lend a helping hand. From helping me decide on my post-graduate plans to identifying good internships for me, and everything in between, they have always gone above and beyond to try and help me the best they could,” recalled Franco, who received a full merit scholarship from the Macaulay Honors College as well as an Undergraduate Research Stipend for conducting research on partial volume segmentation.
He has done extensive volunteer work as an SAT tutor and college advisor for low-income high school students, an assistant coach at his former high school, and a worker for the recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy.
In fact, much of Franco’s message at the Convocation focused on public service.
“The impact you can leave on someone just by being there to lend a helping hand is immeasurable. So, I implore everyone, regardless of major, to go out and become stewards of kindness, helping to build a better tomorrow. Whether it’s as a teacher, friend, or stranger, make the world a better place by chipping in.”
The Prince’s Bay resident, who graduated from St. Joseph by the Sea High School, also took advantage of CSI’s Study Abroad program, visiting Sydney, Australia in 2015 and Cape Town, South Africa in 2016.
Franco’s parting advice to CSI students is to work closely with their professors.
“At CSI the faculty is excellent and incredibly knowledgeable. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet them in office hours or after class. You’ll find that they will enjoy having students who are engaged and willing to go the extra mile to become better students.”
To his fellow graduates, he reminded them of the importance of being active in the CSI alumni community.
“In our post-graduate plans, we will meet new people, have new experiences, and visit new places, but we won’t forget the time spent here at the College of Staten Island. And as successful alumni, it is our duty to be ambassadors for the school, which has served as a second home to us for years. So as we move on, we should all be proud of our accomplishments but remember to always give back.”