Who says that engineers are humorless? A recent Georgia Tech speech to incoming freshman has been branded “epic” by several observers and even had the faculty in stitches.
Nicholas Selby’s inspirational convocation speech wasn’t what you’d expect out of academia, and, indeed, the flair and presentation of the moment made for a strange juxtaposition beside the traditionally-robed faculty sitting on the stage.
Selby’s Georgia Tech speech started normally enough: “We chose Georgia Tech because we want to do the impossible,” he said. But then, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey slowly rose in the background as Selby quoted Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Perfectly timed with the rising score, Selby energetically and passionately set incoming students on their course:
“Our mission as students is not follow in the footsteps of the astronauts, Nobel Prize laureates and presidents who graduated before us, but to exceed their footsteps, crush the shoulders of the giants upon whom we stand!” he shouted.
“We, here, are all such innovative people. So, I am telling you if you want to change the world, you’re at Georgia Tech. You can do that! If you want to build the ‘Iron Man’ suit, you are at Georgia Tech. You can do that! If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like (beep), we’re at Georgia Tech. We can do that!”
“I am doing that!” he screamed.
The crowd looked a little confused, but gave Selby a standing ovation. The best part from where I’m sitting was the faculty reaction. You’d think there’d be a few shaking noggins on stage, but they seemed to enjoy it more than anyone.
The Mechanical Engineering major’s speech served a secondary purpose, as well. After going viral, one could argue that it’s the best sales pitch the school has ever had. In the words of one YouTuber:
“I am 30 yrs old, I already went to college. I am married, I have a kid, and a full time job in New York… and after watching that, I just applied to Georgia Tech.”
You can watch Nicholas Selby’s Georgia Tech speech above, and let us know what you think!