Coe alumnus, Google X engineer Sandeep Giri to deliver Coe commencement address

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-04-26 14:15:40 - General

Coe alumnus Sandeep Giri, the manager of a team of advanced technology manufacturing engineers at Google X, will deliver the commencement address on Sunday, May 7, at 10 a.m. at Coe College. For the first time, a Coe graduating senior - Teaierra Curry - will represent the class of 2017 as the student speaker.

This year's baccalaureate speaker is the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago. Baccalaureate will be held on Saturday, May 6, beginning at 3 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium.

At Coe's commencement, President David McInally will confer Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Music degrees on 315 graduates. In addition, several Coe professors will be honored with emeritus status.

Senior speaker Teaierra Curry

Through a competitive process open to all members of the class of 2017, Teaierra Curry was selected as the inaugural Coe commencement senior speaker. A native of Chicago, Curry is a biology and neuroscience major, with a Spanish minor. She has been involved in many activities at Coe, including Student Activities Committee, Children of Promise, Rock Climbing Club, Cooking Club and Mortar Board.

Commencement speaker Sandeep Giri

Giri serves as the manager, advanced technology manufacturing engineering at Google X in Mountain View, California, a semi-secret facility dedicated to making major technological advancements. He works at the lab focused on "moonshot" projects like self-driving cars, balloon-powered Internet service, wind power via kites and self-flying vehicles for delivery.

Giri learned about Coe from a high school friend in Kolkata, India. He planned to major in computer science, but added physics after taking an introductory class with B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics Steve Feller. He graduated cum laude in 2004 and made a lifelong friend in Feller.

Research opportunities available through the Coe Physics Department allowed Giri to publish five papers and present them at over a dozen conferences as an undergraduate student. While at Coe, Sandeep also served research internships at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He was active in Alpha Lambda Delta, Physics Club, Chess Club and intramural sports at Coe.

Accepted at eight of the nine graduate schools to which he applied, Giri chose to attend Stanford University. He earned a master's degree in material science in 2006.

Giri was hired as an engineer by Qualcomm in San Jose, Calif., and worked on display technology for e-readers, smart phones and smart watches. He also worked on solar technologies and filed several patents. When Qualcomm moved its manufacturing to Taiwan, they sent Giri there in 2011. He gained valuable high volume manufacturing experience and enjoyed life as an expatriate. He joined the Google special projects team in April 2013 and relishes the fast-paced culture that thinks big and empowers innovation.

Baccalaureate speaker Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

This year's baccalaureate speaker will be Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago. He has built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. Moss is part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching a prophetic message of love and justice, which he believes are inseparable companions that form the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As part of his community engagement through Trinity United Church of Christ, Moss led the team that came up with the "My Life Matters" curriculum, which includes the viral video, "Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival" created in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

With a unique gift to communicate across generations, Dr. Moss' creative Bible-based messages have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Moss a popular speaker on college campuses and at conferences and churches across the globe. He is highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson and Howard Thurman, as well as jazz and hip-hop music.

A native of Cleveland, Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College who earned a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary.

Schedule of events

Saturday, May 6

  • 10 a.m. - Academic Honors Convocation in Dows Theatre
  • 1 p.m. - Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony in Dows Theatre
  • 1:30 p.m. - Phi Beta Kappa initiates will be honored at an induction ceremony in the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library.
  • 3 p.m. - Baccalaureate service in Sinclair Memorial Auditorium

Sunday, May 7

  • 10 a.m. - Graduates will ring the Victory Bell in front of Eby Fieldhouse and then proceed across campus, escorted by the faculty, for the start of commencement exercises on the Stewart Memorial Library mall. Graduates will be honored at a reception in Gage Memorial Union Dining Hall - The "U" - following commencement. In case of inclement weather, the commencement ceremony will be held in Eby Fieldhouse.

For more information on graduation weekend events, contact Secretary of the College Rod Pritchard at 319-399-8605 or go to