A Welcome to Remember
Like many colleges and universities, the Georgia Institute of Technology has a welcoming convocation. One of the traditions at Georgia Tech is that a second-year student is selected by a faculty-staff committee to give "the sophomore welcome."
This year's welcome -- by Nicholas Selby -- went viral Tuesday and may set a new standard for welcoming new students. Here is the closing, which has captured most of the attention:
Via e-mail, Selby said that he applied over the summer to give the talk -- first with an abstract and then with a video. The video did include the music, but he said that the administrators on stage with him hadn't seen the audition video so that was a surprise to them.
Selby, a mechanical engineering major, said he felt good about the speech, but that he was surprised by the off-campus reaction. "When everyone started posting it on Facebook and other social media and the view count started rising, I had no idea (and still really have no idea) what was happening," he said.
Asked if he had advice for others giving convocation addresses, Selby said: "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right. Not many people get the privilege of getting a few thousand people in a room who have to listen to you. You owe it to yourself and to everyone in the audience to make sure the entire room is having a blast."
Matt Ufford, a columnist for the sports website SB Nation, declared Selby a "motivational nerd-god," and provided a second-by-second analysis of the rhetoric and style in the speech. Ufford found himself wondering if Selby's talents could have an impact beyond the engineering world of Georgia Tech. Wrote Ufford: "In the spring of 2003, I crossed over the Kuwaiti border into Iraq, and I never once got a speech this inspiring.... Anyway, Nick, if that engineering thing doesn't shake out, get to work on your pull-ups. The Marines are hiring."
For those with a little more time, here is the full speech (7 minutes), most of which isn't quite as rousing as the close, but which does include some advice that may warm the hearts of parents, professors and engineers (and of course Georgia Tech alumni).