The DeBaun Auditorium was filled to capacity on Wednesday, January 26th, as staff, faculty, students, alumni, Board of Trustees members and representatives from the City of Hoboken – including Mayor Dawn Zimmer – anxiously awaited the Introduction and Welcome to Dr. Nariman Farvardin.
Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Babbio opened the event by welcoming everyone, and then turning his attention to the guest of honor. “I would like to welcome the seventh president of Stevens Institute of Technology to this great community. It is an honor for me, as chairman of the Board, to introduce Dr. Nariman Farvardin.”
Babbio went on to discuss the role of the president. Not only will Dr. Farvardin act as a steward of Stevens’ mission and build on our already robust programs, but he will bring his own vision to the role: one that honors our past while keeping in mind the future.
“Welcoming a new president is significant in any organization,” Babbio stated. “But if you look at our history, having only six presidents in 140 years, shows the commitment to this University. We look forward to Dr. Farvardin continuing that tradition.”
After giving a brief biography of Dr. Farvardin, highlighting his numerous accomplishments and qualifications, Babbio expressed some thanks. In addition to thanking the Board and the search committee, he extended a special thanks to Provost & Interim President, Dr. George P. Korfiatis.
“Things progressed seamlessly at Stevens while Dr. Korfiatis served as our Interim President,” he said. “It is with great pride and pleasure that I introduce Dr. George Korfiatis.”
Dr. Korfiatis took the podium to thunderous applause. He thanked and welcomed everyone, and then addressed Dr. Farvardin. With genuine sincerity he said: “Dr. Farvardin, it is a distinct honor to present to you the Stevens community.”
"This opportunity is refreshing and rejuvenating – I feel like I’m 10 years younger! I am impatiently waiting the opportunity to join you on a permanent basis in July."
“This is a community with great pride for Stevens and serves the University well. There is great pride for the heritage and mission of the school. The members of the community are driven by success and the desire to continuously improve and enhance,” Dr. Korfiatis asserted. He went on to describe life at Stevens and the people of the University, and the many recent accomplishments of the community.
He concluded: “I have the utmost respect and admiration for the community. They welcome you, and I would like to invite you to address them.”
With that, the seventh president of Stevens took the stage. He thanked Dr. Korfiatis, and stated: “I know how difficult it is to be Provost and Interim President at the same time!”
“I am grateful for the trust you have bestowed upon me, mindful of the generations of contributions from community members to the University, humbled by the task and aware of the gravity of what you have entrusted me with,” Dr. Farvardin began. “I would like to thank Dr. Korfiatis and Chairman Babbio for their kind words, the search committee and the Board of Trustees for their faith in me, and most of all, the Stevens community, for the overwhelming, warm welcome.”
Dr. Farvardin then introduced his wife, Hoveida, describing her as his trusted advisor, and the first person he turns to for guidance. He then went on to briefly discuss his background – from what he called the “human side of me” – addressing his growing up, when and how he came to America, and his education at RPI. He very humbly and graciously thanked America, RPI and the University of Maryland for affording him so many opportunities, and concluded with: “Most importantly, I thank Stevens for allowing me the most exciting opportunity of my life.”
Though he believes it is too early to share his vision statement for Stevens, he shared his thoughts on the current economic landscape and translated those to high level remarks about Stevens’ position, and the opportunities that lie ahead. He looks forward to meeting all the members of the community, he said, and working together to form that vision.
“We will work together to answer questions such as: what does Stevens stand for? What will Stevens look like on its 150th anniversary?” He continued: “We will work together to take Stevens to new heights.”
The event was then opened to questions, and thoughts, which Dr. Farvardin encouraged and welcomed. He was informed and candid, open, inclusive and knowledgeable. Several staff and faculty members engaged with Dr. Farvardin, as well as a couple students.
Following the Introduction and Welcome Event, the community was invited to join Dr. and Mrs. Farvardin in the Babbio Atrium for a reception. Though the view outside was a snowy, winter landscape, inside was warm and filled with happy voices and smiling faces. Faculty, staff and alumni filled the atrium, mingling with each other and welcoming the Farvardins to campus.
“I speak for our student-athletes, coaches and staff in welcoming Dr. Farvardin and his family to Stevens and as the newest members of our athletic team,” said Russell Rogers, the director of athletics at Stevens. “He has clearly set a standard of excellence in every phase of his career, which matches our goal of being the premier NCAA Division III athletic program in the country among all technological institutions.”
C. Timothy Koeller, Interim Dean of the Howe School of Technology Management stated: “Dr. Farvardin is an accomplished university administrator. I look forward to working with him, as we continue to build upon our university's recent successes in research and education, to advance the reputation and stature of Stevens.”
“Stevens has found in Nariman Farvardin not only a visionary and enterprising leader, but a committed educator. We look forward to having him steward us toward continued growth and success,” agreed Lisa Dolling, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL). “On behalf of CAL, I am particularly thrilled to welcome someone with his multi-disciplinary background and experience. We are excited to welcome a President who not only recognizes the importance of such programs, but also has considerable experience and success in supporting and growing them.”
Later in the evening, a reception was held for students to have a chance to meet and greet Dr. Farvardin. Though the snowfall was picking up, the students came out in droves to meet their new president, lining up at the doors of Canavan Arena. As soon as the doors opened, the students flooded the arena, dressed for the occasion in shirts, ties and dresses.
“It’s exciting to have a new face of the school, and a strong leader for Stevens,” said Chris Ciabattone (BS ’11). “With Dr. Farvardin’s past accomplishments, he is a good fit for the position and I look forward to seeing the direction in which he will take the school. Hopefully he will take us to the next level.”
In the front of the arena stood a large sign that read: Welcome and Best Wishes to Dr. and Mrs. Farvardin. Students and alumni in attendance were encouraged to write a personal message of welcome, and by the time Dr. Farvardin took the stage, there was no blank space left on the board.
“I am looking forward to the experience and new perspective that Dr. Farvardin will bring to the school. I feel that his leadership will ensure that Stevens grows in a direction that will honor and build upon its 140 year history,” stated Abel Alvarez (BE ’11), who was a member of the presidential search committee.
Vice president and chief administrative officer Dr. Maureen P. Weatherall opened the event by welcoming the students and congratulating them on a successful fall semester. She highlighted a couple successes from the semester, including the cast and crew and “Noises Off” – the performing arts performance earlier this year, the Ethics Bowl participants who have moved onto the national competition, and all the student-athletes, especially the fall teams for their many accomplishments.
From there, she introduced two students, including Abel, and Stephanie Spelman (’11), who was also a member of the presidential search committee. Abel took the stage and told the students, who had filled the bleachers, how excited and honored he was to be a part of something that would make such an impact on the University now, and for future generations.
“As we narrowed down well over 100 candidates to find our ideal candidate, all I could think all along was ‘wow, this guys FITS’,” Abel said of Dr. Farvardin.
Stephanie then presented Dr. and Mrs. Farvardin – and their daughter, Tandice, who is currently a junior at Georgetown – several gifts on behalf of the Student Government Association, and the entire student body. Upon opening his gifts, Dr. Farvardin immediately donned the Stevens baseball cap and received applause and cheers.
Dr. Farvardin began his remarks by stating: “I am so taken by the hospitality and warmth my wife and I have received from this amazing community. I am honored and excited to serve you and frankly, I cannot wait until July!”
He continued by providing some background of his life in education – which he stated has spanned 45 years, since the first time he was asked to tutor another student. As he easily joked with the students and also discussed his thinking on his responsibilities as the seventh president of Stevens, his passion for and dedication to the students was clear.
“Not only do I want to provide all Stevens students with an education that is second to none, I also want to become a part of this large, proud community,” Dr. Farvardin concluded. “This welcome board that you all have signed is one of the most touching and moving gifts I’ve ever received. I pledge it will be posted in our new house on campus. We are thrilled to join this community, and I hope you all will consider me your friend.”
For full remarks, visit: http://www.stevens.edu/press/images/speech.docx