Governor Phil Murphy will deliver the keynote address to the Stevens Institute of Technology Class of 2023, the largest graduating class in Stevens' 153-year history.
Philip D. Murphy, two-term governor of New Jersey and chair of the National Governors Association, will deliver Stevens 2023 address at the university-wide Commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 24, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be held at the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey, and will be livestreamed for public viewing. It is expected that approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students will earn credentials this year from Stevens during this academic year, the largest graduating class to date in Stevens 153-year history.
“The Stevens community is delighted to welcome Gov. Phil Murphy as our 2023 commencement speaker,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin. “At Stevens, we are in lockstep with the governor's efforts to expand the innovation economy in New Jersey, to reverse the ‘brain drain’ that exports talented students out of state for college and careers and to improve mental health and wellness, especially among young populations. It is a distinct honor that our graduates, poised to begin a new chapter in their lives, will hear a keynote address from a leader who has distinguished himself in the state, national and international arena. I look forward to celebrating the achievements of our students, faculty and staff with Gov. Murphy.”
Since taking office in 2018, Gov. Murphy’s policies and initiatives have aligned with Stevens’ vision and values of innovation, research and technology. The Governor has put a special emphasis on making New Jersey more welcoming to both established high-tech enterprises and start-up companies in the innovation economy to which the majority of Stevens’ graduates contribute. More than 50 percent of Stevens’ alumni live and/or work in the state, while, 71 percent of the Stevens Class of 2022 remained in the New York/New Jersey metro area.
Under the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey has also emerged as a leader in the deployment of clean energy technologies, including one of the nation’s most ambitious proposals for the development of offshore wind. The Davidson Laboratory at Stevens has played a pivotal role in advancing this initiative, providing analysis of technological challenges, while also constructing prototypes of ocean wave converters to help harness the ocean’s energy.
More recently, Gov. Murphy has also focused on making New Jersey a leading location for film, television and digital production, enacting a new incentive program that drew more than $650 million in investment to New Jersey in 2022. Stevens’ spirit of technology-empowered creativity aligns with the initiative, which expands opportunities for graduates with technology and arts degrees who pursue careers in the media and entertainment industries.
Gov. Murphy is an outspoken advocate for mental health and has expanded protections for the state’s immigrant and LGBTQIA+ communities. He praised Stevens for receiving the prestigious 2022 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, which recognized Stevens as one of the healthiest college campuses in the U.S.
Prior to entering public life, Gov. Murphy worked for more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs, starting as an intern in 1982 and ending in 2003 as a member of the firm’s management committee. During his business career, he led offices in Frankfurt, Germany and Hong Kong.
The Governor is a graduate of Needham (Mass.) High School, Harvard University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been awarded numerous honorary degrees. Stevens will confer the doctor of business administration degree to Gov. Murphy on May 24.
Undergraduate Student Speaker
Mackenzy Shea Garden
Chosen by a committee of faculty, staff and students after a rigorous selection process, Mackenzy Shea Garden, of Danbury, Connecticut, is the undergraduate student speaker for the Class of 2023. She graduates with a Bachelor of Engineering in biomedical engineering.
As part of her experience as a Pinnacle Scholar, Garden served as a peer advisor. She conducted summer research on identifying improvements for wearable devices with Dr. Ying Wang and the musculoskeletal dynamics of professional baseball Dr. Antonia Zaferiou. Garden also studied abroad at Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy.
A member of the women’s varsity field hockey team for her entire undergraduate career, Garden was selected as a leadership development representative. She was also named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Academic Squad and the Middle Atlantic Conference Honor Roll.
Garden takes great pride in her roles on the executive team for StevensTHON, a philanthropic organization that benefits children and families at Children’s Specialized Hospital. She served as executive and external director and recruitment chair, and personally raised more than $6,000.
Garden belongs to Phi Sigma Sigma and served as member-at-large and house manager and was named a Panhellenic Leader of Distinction. She also belongs to the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society and the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society.
Garden also received the Student Government Student Leader Award.
Upon graduation, Garden will intern at Regeneron and then return to Stevens to complete her Master of Science in chemical biology with a certificate in drug discovery. Once her studies are complete, she hopes to work in research and development in a pharmaceuticals lab.
Graduate Student Speaker
Chosen by a committee of faculty, staff and students after a rigorous selection process, Sakina Rizvi, of Jersey City, New Jersey, is the graduate student speaker for the Class of 2023. She graduates with a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in project management and previously received her Bachelor of Science in business and technology from Stevens in 2021.
As an undergraduate at Stevens, Rizvi conducted research through the AI Summer Research Fellowship Program. Under the guidance of Donald N. Lombardi, Ph.D., USMC(R), she gained a comprehensive understanding of the emerging role of artificial intelligence in healthcare, with a specific focus on identifying programs, opportunities and positive impacts on aging facility residents derived from individual interaction with a robot. Rizvi continued this research into her graduate studies as independent research and credits the experience with fueling her ongoing pursuit of knowledge.
She also studied abroad at the University of Strasbourg in France, with a focus on international business and IT project management. She learned basic French, adding to the three languages in which she was already proficient: English, Gujarati and Hindi.
A member of the Stevens track and field team in 2019, Rizvi helped her team capture the Empire 8 Conference Championship. Rizvi immersed herself in student life by joining several societies, such as Stevens Women in Business Club, Amnesty International and Indian Undergraduate Association, and served as vice president of Stevens FAME (Fashion Association for Marketing and Entrepreneurship).
Rizvi’s work experience ranges from a data analytics position at a leading U.S. entertainment network, to an information technology position at one of the largest private investment banks in the United States. She is currently employed at a global business and technology consultancy as the Chief of Staff at a leading investment bank. Upon graduation, she looks forward to continuing to bring a high level of commitment to her work as she strives to achieve greater success.