Watson Auditorium on the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s campus was packed by 900 students, faculty, professors, and alumni for the Founder’s Day Convocation. Dean Kamen received two honors from the Wentworth Institute of Technology, The President’s Medallion, and an honorary degree, “Doctor of Engineering Technology.”
Dean started off the convocation address by saying, “It’s nice to get a degree without paying for tuition. Very nice.” Dean also noted that today was his birthday. Throughout the entire speech he rocked back and forth on his segway, and of course he was wearing the trademark denim.
First he talked about technology and how the US is outsourcing it. Dean claims that outsourcing is the result of technology becoming a commodity. He referred to inventions such as the car or computer as “golden eggs”, and engineering is the “golden goose.” He thinks we might be starting to outsource “the golden goose”, or engineering. When the US develops a technology, it turns into a commodity and we outsource it. We then create a better technology, and the cycle continues. His concern is, “what if we raise the bar and can’t jump over it?”
Second, he talked about FIRST. Everyone was telling him that there was a supply problem in American education, computers, books, etc. Dean looked through the general concencus and realized there was a demand problem, a huge culture problem. He said we have professional engineers with FIRST because, “kids watching kids would be as exciting as- a science fair. We need the Michael Jordans of technology.” Dean tried to convince Wentworth to start a team or sponsor the first regional in Boston.
He invited everyone in the room to the championship in Atlanta. He said, “there will be no wardrobe malfunctions, there will be world class people.”
Third, he talked about being an entrepreneur. He said he thought of a list of 100 things that made him a good entrepreneur.
#1. Find an important problem.
#2. Don’t give up.
He finished his speech by saying the other 98 were superfluous.
“I don’t want to stand here and make an $@#$@#$@# of myself.”
“The one thing I know is, being smart is a good idea.”
Jessica, during Dean’s address we were not allowed to videotape or use flash photography.