More than 100 ORIE Seniors Celebrate Their Graduation
The graduating seniors marched into Sage Chapel, accompanied by the Allegro alla Hornpipe from G. F. Handel's Water Music performed on the chapel organ, and the applause of faculty, parents and friends.
Professor James Renegar, Director of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, welcomed the audience and provided some guidance to them about the nature of the new graduates' field of study. "From a practical viewpoint, operations research is all about doing things in the most economically efficient way possible," he told them. "In many ways, operations research is the brains behind the economy." He noted that the graduates are "incredibly talented" and "virtually off the charts in intelligence" while having mastered a subject that is "singularly well suited for the times in which we live."
|Award Winners Shi Cheng, Wesley Tillu, Shirley Lu, Stephanie Peng and Bryan Gitler|
Professor Robert Bland, Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies, presented awards of "special recognition for academic excellence." These are the Byron W. Saunders Award, the Lynn E. Bussey Award and the Allan H. Mogensen Award.
The late Byron W. Saunders, a faculty member and former director of ORIE who also served as Dean of the Cornell Faculty, "devoted his energies for many years to the encouragement of excellence in academic performance by undergraduate students," according to Bland. Bland identified Bryan Gitler and Stephanie Peng as both having "stratospheric" academic records and joked that as a result "the superdelegates" chose to have them share the Saunders Award.
Gitler, from Mamaroneck, New York, graduated magna cum laude. He will be joining Deloitte. Peng, from Colts Neck, New Jersey, is a quantitative financial analyst at AllianceBernstein in New York City. Earlier this year she was also designated as a Merrill Presidential Scholar. She graduated summa cum laude.
Two graduates, Shirley Lu and Wesley Tillu, shared the Lynn E. Bussey scholarship to be used in their pursuit of the Master of Engineering degree in ORIE this fall. Lynn Bussey graduated from ORIE and dedicated his career to the teaching of engineering economics. His text, The Economic Analysis of Industrial Projects, first published in 1978, "continues in use as the most thorough treatment of this topic at the graduate level," according to Bland.
Bussey award winner Shirley Lu is from Miramar, Florida. As an "early admission" student in the Master of Engineering program, Lu began the M. Eng. while still an undergraduate and will continue her studies in the Financial Engineering Concentration in the fall. Wesley Tillu, who received the Bussey award along with Lu, is from Long Island, New York. He will begin his Master of Engineering studies in Financial Engineering this fall.
Shi Cheng, from Tianjin, China, won the Allan H. Mogensen Award for use in his Master of Engineering studies this fall. In the 1930's, Cornell graduate Mogensen pioneered the concept of work simplification, "a concept that became one of the cornerstones of what industrial engineers now refer to as the Toyota Production System," Bland noted. (Mogensen also influenced Proctor and Gamble's use of analytical methods). Cheng will begin his Master of Engineering program in the fall, concentrating in Financial Engineering.
Following the award portion of the ceremony, Professor Shane Henderson called the roll of the Bachelor of Science candidates as each candidate came to the platform to receive his or her diploma from Professor Jack Muckstadt and to be photographed. The event ended with a performance of C. M. Widor's Tocatta by organist William Cowdery as the new graduates, their friends and family, and the faculty adjourned to a tent on the chapel lawn for refreshments.
This summer Lu is interning in the Asset Finance Capital Markets group of the Fixed Income division of Credit Suisse. After starting her work there Lu wrote that "the program is engaging as I learn about diverse industries and I get to see the capital markets at work. Cornell's ORIE program has prepared me very well for my role - it gives me the problem solving and analytical skills I need to succeed." She continued that "I can already see some of the subject here at work - it's exciting to see what I learned in school applied to the real financial world."
Recently Peng wrote that "my OR degree is definitely very applicable to my job at AllianceBernstein. It has provided a strong technical and quantitiatve foundation for my job here." Her first assignment involved significant amounts of coding in SQL, a language used to extract information from databases. She notes that she did not specifically study SQL at Cornell but the general programming background she received here "helped me pick up the new language fairly easily." She expects to work on projects that draw on her studiens in probability and statistics.
Tillu is now working as an investment banking summer analyst at Merrill Lynch, within the media and telecommunications group. He was particularly impressed with 'the abundance of entrepreneurship and business classes within the OR&IE curriculum," which allowed him to explore and approach engineering with "a business mindset." He plans to solidify his quantitative finance background during his M.Eng. year, before entering the finance industry.
Gilter begins his work as a business analyst consultant at Deloitte in late July. Following commencement, he wrote that "I will always value the education I received, the friendships I developed, and the experiences that I had, both in and out of the classroom." He credits his academic advisor Professor David Williamson, his research advisor Professor Robert Bland, and ORIE's undergraduate coordinator Ms. Cindy Jay for "helping me a lot during my time at school."