News | Student Life

Jon Oringer, Shutterstock founder and CEO, to speak at SEAS Class Day

Jon Oringer, SEAS ’98 and the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, will be sending off graduates at the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Class Day on May 19.

Oringer received his master’s in computer science from SEAS, after completing his bachelor’s in mathematics and computer science at Stony Brook University. 

“We think he’s an incredible choice,” Engineering Student Council Class of 2014 President Daniel O’Leary, SEAS ’14, said. 

A serial entrepreneur, Oringer founded around 10 companies—including an early pop-up blocker—before founding Shutterstock. His idea for the site came after realizing the other companies he founded needed stock photos. 

So, in 2003, Oringer started Shutterstock with just his own photographs. It now operates in over 150 countries and has over 35 million royalty-free images.

“I’m really honored to come speak, and to be the class day speaker,” Oringer said in a phone interview. “I’m excited to meet the graduates and I’m excited to see what they’re excited about.”

The selection of Oringer comes as SEAS continues to increase its involvement with startups and data science. 

“All his businesses are very data-driven, which I think is great at this junction in time when SEAS is trying to take a big role,” Nikul Ukani, a fourth-year doctoral student in engineering, said, citing SEAS’ Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering

“He’s the first billionaire in Silicon Alley, so it is really great his company is located in New York,” Ukani added. 

“These are people who will be entering the workforce to work at exciting companies or starting new companies of their own,” Oringer said. “It’s great to see new people entering the New York City tech community.”

“I think it’s cool to have a young entrepreneur come here,” ESC President Sidd Bhatt, SEAS ’14, said. “Someone who’s mixed their passion for photography with a skill set rather than someone who has just risen through the ranks of the engineering community.” 

Emma Bogler contributed reporting.

elizabeth.sedran@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ezactron

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