GA Tech welcome speech stuns freshmen, goes viral

Posted at 12:55 PM, Aug 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-21 14:55:58-04

By Marcy Heinz

ATLANTA (CNN) — Georgia Institute of Technology student Nicholas Selby is a force to be reckoned with.

The sophomore is a Mechanical Engineering major, co-leads Team Solar Jackets — Georgia Tech’s team that built and raced a solar-powered car in the Formula Sun Grand Prix — and is a president’s scholar, representing the top 2% of enrolled students at the university.

It’s safe to say he must have a lot of energy — and it appears to have been unleashed during his welcome speech Sunday to this year’s freshman class.

To watch the speech, click here.

It started out like many other convocations. Faculty, staff and notable guests, including attending. Selby — dressed in a traditional black robe with his mortarboard perfectly perched upon his head — addressed the new recruits: “We chose Georgia Tech because we want to do the impossible.”

But then, something unexpected started to unfold. Music from “2001: A Space Odyssey” began as Selby quoted Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

As the trumpets from the iconic movie theme song swelled, so did Selby’s passion, with the cadence a drill sergeant would envy.

“Crush the shoulders of the giants of whom we stand. We are all 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 Ironman suit, you’re at Georgia Tech! You can do that! And if you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a bad ass, we’re at Georgia Tech, we can do that! I am doing that!”

Selby breathlessly finished the speech with his arms raised in victory, to applause from the roughly 4,000 people in attendance — some of whom seemed a little shell-shocked from his intensity.

After a brief pause, Selby deadpanned with a smirk: “Congratulations on your acceptance and brace yourselves for a hell of a ride on your way to becoming a hell of an engineer.”

Freshmen, wearing their traditional yellow caps slightly askew, appeared stunned; and they weren’t the only ones.

Video of the speech is going viral with over 340,000 hits since being posted Monday.

Comments on the video range from poking fun at Selby’s appearance — “Welcome to Hogwarts,” a reference to Selby’s Harry Potter-like appearance — to enthusiasm. One person commented, “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.”

Another person felt the speech was so epic that they want to be Selby’s best friend and feels it’s possible “Because I go to Georgia Tech!”

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