Stony Brook Matters

Shutterstock Founder Jonathan Oringer ‘96 Reflects, Inspires at 2017 Commencement

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Twenty-one years after earning his own Stony Brook degree, Jonathan Oringer ‘96, founder, chairman and CEO of Shutterstock, the influential New York-based global tech company, came home to where he said it all began.

The tech entrepreneur returned to the University for our 57th annual commencement on May 19 to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree and to inspire our newest class of graduates.

“You are young. It gets harder and harder to take calculated risks,” he told the nearly 7,000 graduating seniors. “You will fail sometimes. You will learn things about yourself that will scare and inspire you simultaneously. Taking calculated risks is a numbers game. Shutterstock was my 10th business — but the law of numbers will be on your side the earlier you start, and I think you should start today.”

In his remarks before the class of 2017, Oringer shared the three most important life lessons that he said he learned on the Stony Brook campus: to stay curious, to take calculated risks and to embrace diversity.

“Since I was young, I had always wanted to start a company — but what I didn’t realize until that day my professor said what he did, was how to balance the risk and the reward,” Oringer said.

According to Oringer, those lessons were key in helping him launch Shutterstock to become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Watch and share Oringer’s speech:

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