William Shatner, center, the commencement speaker at the New England Institute of Technology 2018 Commencement, with NEIT President Richard Gouse (left) and R.I. Foundation President & CEO Neil Steinberg. Photo: NEIT

By Bethany Hashway

 Providence, R.I. – On Sunday, 1,180 graduates received their associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees during the New England Institute of Technology commencement. But the highlight of the ceremony was the appearance of commencement speaker William Shatner, or as most of us know him, Capt. James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original “Star Trek” series.


Shatner, a youthful 87 years old, spoke to the graduates of hopes, dreams and a world beyond the university that is “both beautiful and ugly.”


He told the graduates, “You have been given a piece of paper that represents a lot of hard work, your degree. And if you roll that piece of paper up and hold it your eye it becomes a telescope – a telescope of hope. You can fixate on the future and look at what you want with focus, precision, and concentration.”


The appreciative audience at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center gave Shatner a standing ovation at the end of his speech.


Shatner received an honorary degree from NEIT, as did Rhode Island Foundation president and CEO, Neil Steinberg. Even Steinberg was starstruck. He tweeted out a photo with Shatner and NEIT President Richard Gouse, saying he was “honored and humbled to join @WilliamShatner to receive our honorary degrees.”


New England Tech’s main campus is in East Greenwich, but the school has two campuses in Warwick as well.
Edited by Elizabeth F. McNamara
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