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Alumni Magazine

Comedy duo Rhett and Link bring the mythicality to commencement

Rhett and Link ride Segways at the College of Engineering at NC State University.

Engineers find work in many fields: transportation, NASA — and YouTube. Alumni Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal combined their creative natures and engineering problem-solving skills to become Internetainers, as they call themselves.

The duo, known professionally as Rhett and Link, own Mythical Entertainment and star in two award-winning daily YouTube shows, Good Mythical Morning and Good Mythical More. Their main channel has 18.5 million subscribers. They also host their own podcast, Ear Biscuits; starred in two seasons of a YouTube Premium series; and wrote two books.

They visited in May to deliver the commencement addresses for the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), although they did so separately and not as a duo.

Neal graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in 2001 before working at IBM. With the graduating class, he laughed about ISE-specific terminology before offering advice for any career field.

“Err on the side of action instead of certainty,” Neal said during his address. “If you keep waiting for 100 percent certainty, you might be lulled into a position where you’re not listening to your heart and following your heart.”

After a lunch of Bojangles, McLaughlin, who graduated in 2000 with a degree in civil engineering before working at Black & Veatch, addressed a graduating class wearing a mix of caps and hard hats and encouraged them to envision their future.

“It’s so common for people to arrive at points in the future and be disappointed, regardless of whether things go right or wrong, that we’ve come up with all kinds of cliches and advice that you’ve heard before,” McLaughlin said. “The bad news is you’re going to be disappointed in your future. Thank you. Good night. The good news is we’ve all been here before.”

After the ceremonies, McLaughlin and Neal toured Fitts-Woolard Hall, home to both of their departments. During the tour, they met faculty members and students who showed off their technology and research.

In the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, they shrunk down to the size of a bug and up to the size of a whale. They rode Segways around a classroom and tested out a driving simulator. All along the way, they spoke with students who were already fans, one of whom even brought his own copy of The Book of Mythicality for the two to sign, and took photos with an army of new fans, or as they call them, Mythical Beasts.