The students at Rochester Institute of Technology received words of wisdom from Ursula Burns, the newly appointed CEO of Xerox. She was the keynote speaker at their 124th commencement on Friday, May 22, in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center. Burns talked about passion, drive, and hard work as the three main ingredients for getting her to where she is today. Burns, 50, was announced as the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company last week. She worked her way up through the ranks, starting out as an intern then as the executive assistant to the CEO of the company and as of July 1, she will be the one calling the shots.

I can assure you that no one at my commencement was pointing at me and predicting that I would become the CEO of anything,” said Burns to the crowd of computing, engineering, and technology graduates. “Women presidents or CEOs of large global companies were non-existent at that time. Black women presidents of large global companies were unimaginable.”—WLW