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‘Innovation Rules’: Class of 2014 Told to Utilize STEM Gifts to Make a Difference in Others

May 31, 2014


Sentimental Procession: Senior Class President Marie Stettler, a graduating mechanical engineering and international studies double major, leads her classmates in a final walk through campus toward the commencement ceremony in the Sports and Recreation Center.

Members of Rose-Hulman’s 2014 graduating class received thoughtful advice from science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders, their peers, alumni, and a most unlikely source—The Beatles—before beginning their careers in the innovation economy.

The institute’s 136th commencement on Saturday, May 31, featured 469 students receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees; the awarding of two honorary doctorate of engineering degrees; the presentation of 13 50-year commemorative degrees; and students, faculty, and staff being honored for scholastic achievements, outstanding service, and quality teaching.

Gregg A. Lowe, president and chief executive officer of Freescale Semiconductor, passed along career advice as a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics leader. He was the commencement speaker and received an honorary doctorate of engineering.

Lowe Closeup

Words Of Wisdom: In his Commencement Address to Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2014, Freescale Semiconductor President/CEO Gregg Lowe, a 1984 electrical engineering alumnus, discussed the importance innovation has in creating successful business enterprises. (Photos by Terry Miller)

“As engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, what we love is innovation. And, in the business world, innovation rules,” the 1984 electrical engineering alumnus told the Class of 2014. “The purpose of innovation, of course, is to make something special. Make something interesting. In fact, make it so interesting that people are excited and willing to pay for it.”

Lowe used Apple Inc. is an example of a great company that fosters and nurtures innovation. The company had no experience in wireless communications, no marketing channel, didn’t offer a single button on its mobile device, and decided to charge high prices.

“[Apple] changed an entire industry, and arguably destroyed the business model of the three biggest entrenched rivals: Nokia, Blackberry, and Motorola,” he says. “Innovation that was once mocked, won the day.”
President Jim Conwell told this year’s Rose-Hulman graduates that the greatest advances in humanity have been driven by gifted people educated in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“These people have filled their intellect with the building blocks of greatness, and have then ventured out and solved the problems of their day. They have made the world a better place for us today,” he says. “You [the Class of 2014] share that same duty as you leave here now. You have a gift that the world needs…The knowledge and abilities developed [at Rose-Hulman] belong to you, but the world will be a much more wonderful place if you share them generously.”

Conwell Presenting

Happy Exchange: Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell presents a smile and diplomas to one of the many graduates in Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2014.

The president continued, “Be proud of what you’ve learned, what you’ve become—but, please, don’t keep it to yourselves…I know the greatest that’s across our talented Class of 2014. If you maintain that passion to be better tomorrow than you were today, I know that the future is in great hands.”
That love of solving problems, meeting future challenges, and creating innovative products can be symbolized in The Beatles’ classic lyric, “All You Need Is Love,” states Lowe, a director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
“Your love of innovation will help you in your career, and, in fact, will accelerate your career,” Lowe told this year’s graduates.

Robert L. Wilkins, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, joined Lowe in receiving an honorary doctorate of engineering. The Muncie, Indiana native is a 1986 chemical engineering alumnus.
News about this year’s student, faculty, and staff award winners can be found at