Jamie Hyneman Villanova University Commencement Speech, May 16, 2010
I understand there were bets as to whether they would allow me to keep my beret on ...
I'm probably better known for my destructive tendencies on the Discovery Channel's MythBusters than anything else. You've seen us blow up cement trucks, create an earthquake machine and even seen us try to get old Chevys to fly, but behind all of that havoc is a lot of discipline and drive — brainstorming, creativity, research, planning, budgeting, project management, design, construction, testing, and, throughout the show — analyzing what we are doing and trying to explain it clearly to the viewers.
While all the explosions, destruction and dangerous experiments seem to be my signature, what I really take joy and pride in — what means the most to me about my career — is not the wanton destruction and television fame, it's the passion for exploration, the curiosity, the hunger for knowledge that we demonstrate on the show. Our aim is to encourage new scientists, new engineers, and the new problem solvers in every discipline.
When I was a child I lived on an apple orchard right near here in King of Prussia. It's nice to be back.
Later my family moved to Indiana, and we lived on an apple orchard there as well. So, I come from farm stock. My relatives have names like Uncle Ezrah and Aunt Murdy. I often get asked if I blew up a lot of things when I was a child, but I acquired that "talent" later in life. I did manage to destroy a fair amount of farm equipment as I discovered it got me out of a lot of chores.
Now here we are today. A few miles from my own beginnings. And you, the class of 2010, are ready to take on the challenges of the world.
You are graduates in business, in arts and sciences, in engineering, in nursing, and law. You are Wildcats.
I have collaborated for some years now with the Villanova engineering staff on numerous projects, from designing and building the Wavecam system that covers your sporting events, to working with your professors on the "disasters at sea" project for the Office of Naval Research. We've designed a flying car. We even have a robot design that may get sent to Mars. Right now we are in the middle of developing new types of armor to protect our soldiers from roadside bombs.
And so the Villanova engineering staff has embraced me as one of their own.I am both honored and humbled to accept my Doctorate of Engineering from this university. I sincerely thank Father President, the board of trustees and the faculty for granting me this honor. I too, am now a proud Wildcat.