Doctoral and Master’s Convocation Speech by Haden Land G’91

May 12, 2015

The following is the Convocation speech delivered by Haden Land G'91 to the master's and doctoral class of 2015: Good afternoon. I am delighted to be with you and especially honored to be among so many talented advanced degree recipients. Congratulations to you all and to your family and friends that are here in attendance. I wish to also sincerely thank Interim Dean Mohan and his entire team for allowing me to share some of my thoughts and perspectives gained during my 30 plus years of professional experience. Hopefully, some of what I say may resonate with you or stimulate you to make the engineering and/or computer science professions even greater than they are today. I shall speak to you this afternoon from four integrated perspectives, that of a large employer of STEM/STEAM professionals, a holder of university board trustee positions, industry board director positions and a recognized leader in the information technology field across the globe. The latter of these perspectives aligns well with this graduating class given its impressive global diversity. So what does an engineer and/or computer scientist need to know and be able to do? The answer to that question is not necessarily determined by you or me. It is driven by the disciplines and the marketplace. Innovation is often a process of creating something new from what already exists or from brand new ideas. Understanding our disciplines spawn new ways of thinking about how it can be expanded, integrated, modernized, or applied. The marketplace will create new opportunities and challenges, needs for new skills and knowledge and new applications for existing principles. I believe today’s technology was yesterday’s magic and will be tomorrow’s given. I can confidently say that each of you have been tooled to take the magic and make it tomorrow’s given. We are experiencing an explosion in the number of mobile devices and the amount of internet based information. Every 60 seconds the internet experiences the following: 200 million emails, 2 million goggle searches, 500 thousand Facebook posts, and 100,000 tweets. In 2014, the global society generated over 3 zettabytes of new information; by 2020 that number is forecasted to be over 25 zettabytes. By the end of the century the internet will likely be measured in yottabytes, which is 10 to 24 power, downloading a yottabyte would take you ten trillion years on a typical high speed network. Social media is an exceptional opportunity to promote your professional brand which is something we certainly watch as potential employers so I encourage you to use it effectively, securely and wisely. Incidentally, during 2014 the user population of Facebook surpassed India, LinkedIn surpassed the United States; and Instragram will pass Brazil this year. So what then is the engineer or computer scientist of the future? If you follow the tenets of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, they are a second-class physicist. I respectfully disagree and would counter Sheldon; surely effective physicists must have brilliant minds skilled in math and matter and principles of how the physical world works. However, you all must have more than that to succeed in your professions. You understand what physical principles mean in the work and social worlds and how people and machines interact; furthermore, you have the knowledge to both automate and improve speed of both the physical and virtual worlds. I strongly believe that the future of education is not just about learning facts and applying theory to solve problems, but much more so the training of the mind to think creatively. Brain research has shown that to really learn something well it takes applying the concept in 8 different ways. Albert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I can assure you that many jobs of the future will require individuals who can problem solve as well as think creatively – convergent and divergent thinking. Some future job examples are Quantum Linguist, Nueromorphic Architect, Biomimicry Analyst, Cyber Fractologist, and Nanocomposite Engineer. Employers are looking for new and different sets of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in their technical workforces. They want their employees to know fundamentals and the latest emerging technologies, operating systems and applications. Some want graduates to know the basics, and they will teach them the applications unique to the work they expect them to perform. While others want employees to learn the technologies they will be using in the workplace, and they, the employers, will provide the general perspective to help their employees grow in their careers. While the “top ten” skill needs of employers may vary somewhat from year-to-year, the number one desired attribute for employees is the ability to communicate. The best ideas, the best designs, the zippiest programs, the neatest products go nowhere, unless they can be communicated, understood, supported by others and used productively or enjoyably. Syracuse University has a long heritage of providing a quality and relevant education for the marketplace. Our graduates have pioneered nanotechnology, created implantable artificial organs, commanded the space shuttle, designed national command control systems, anchored prime time news, and, of course, serve as the current Vice President of United States. Furthermore, more than 20 alumni have held college or university president positions. I am also a product of this institution and have been able to successfully apply the knowledge gained here in many assignments over my professional career. I ask that each of you strive to do the same as you start or continue your career. In a short time you shall receive a well-deserved advanced degree, which I am confident will be a key enabler of your future success. However, I ask, as you leverage your creative and problem solving mind, please align these capabilities in how you act through your heart. Be yourself, don’t lose touch with your heritage; it’s been proven many times over that companies who embrace diversity and inclusion are more successful than those that do not. Having been a business and technology executive for many years, I can say with authority that it’s not so much about what you accomplish in life, but rather its more about how you go about doing it. Seek to become a role model for those around you; be an inspiration to others and do your part to improve society. A great engineer or computer scientist is a problem-solver, creative, inventive, a team player but an exceptional one is also ethical and trustworthy. In addition, having foundational leadership skills will provide a baseline of knowledge and perspectives that can help you climb the ladders of corporate opportunity throughout your career. I have seen several engineers and computer scientist become exceptional leaders. Some of you may become visionaries and invent or pioneer new paradigms for how systems operate. You may be self-guided to apply intuition, courage, and persistence to try new things and challenge current paradigms. In closing, I hope each of you understand the important role you can play in helping make the world a better place. I encourage you to stay focused as you execute your professional career, be aware of the pace of change and how to proactively adapt to it. I have a favorite Latin motto to share with you, it is “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam,” which means “either find a way or make one.” As you engineer, architect, design, develop, test, communicate, and/or lead your way forward please do keep this motto in mind. Lastly, each of you have my heartfelt congratulations regarding your accomplishment today and I personally ask each of you to apply your knowledge and expertise to positively influence history rather than just watching it happen. I thank you for your time and attention. About Haden Land Haden Land is currently Vice President of Research and Technology for Lockheed Martin's Information Systems and Global Solutions. He serves numerous U.S. government agencies, allied nations, and regulated commercial industries. Mr. Land is responsible for technical solutions, strategic partnerships, global innovation centers, research and development, and emerging technology planning. His areas of expertise include cloud computing, big data, cyber security, enterprise mobility, complex adaptive systems, enterprise architecture, advanced concepts, and has domain knowledge within government, space, energy, law enforcement, transportation, and healthcare. Previously, he was Vice President of Engineering and CTO for Lockheed Martin IS&GS Civil and Vice President of Technical Operations and CTO/CIO for Lockheed Martin Enterprise Solutions. In addition, Land has extensive technical experience performing in many chief architect and chief engineer roles and has held a number of technical and engineering director positions. Previous employers include IBM and Loral. Mr. Land's applies his longstanding expertise in the engineering and technology industry to the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) academia, leveraging his leadership roles to shape curricula for our future workforce and igniting and maintaining interest in advanced innovation. He serves as a Potsdam University Trustee, Capitol Technology University Trustee, Prince George's Community College Foundation Board Chairman, Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council Board Director, Cyber Maryland Advisory Board Member, Security Innovation Network Steering Board Member, Washington DC CIO Executive Committee Chair, and World Economic Forum Member. Mr. Land has a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Potsdam University and a master's degree in Computer Science from Syracuse University. He is a sought out global speaker and active in philanthropic initiatives. He has been selected eight times as one of the Top Hispanics in Business and Technology by Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology magazine; thrice named a Most Influential Hispanic by the Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council; received the prestigious Global CIO Executive Top 10 Breakaway Leader award; received the Minerva Award for professional lifetime achievement and an honorary doctor degree in Science from Potsdam University; and received an honorary  doctor degree in Humane Letters from Capitol Technology University.