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A New Graduating Class, a New Tradition: Rutgers University-Newark Will Host a Multi-School Commencement Ceremony in the Prudential Center

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A scene from 2013's commencement

The year 2014 is one of new visions for the future for Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), a new future that began in January with the appointment of the first female chancellor in Rutgers history. At 9 a.m. on  May 21, that new leader, Chancellor Nancy Cantor (right), will preside over the first multi-school commencement ceremony for RU-N as some 3,000 graduates receive undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in the Prudential Center. The founder and chief executive officer of audible.com, Donald Katz, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and give the commencement address. 

 “The legislation that integrated New Jersey’s medical schools into Rutgers University provided for a new kind of autonomy for Rutgers University-Newark,” explains Provost Todd Clear. With the appointment of Chancellor Cantor, RU-N “is charting a new vision for excellence as Rutgers’ ‘Urban University,’” notes Clear. “Consistent with new leadership and an emerging mission, Rutgers University-Newark is holding its first ever multi-school commencement ceremony, and we  believe this is the start of a new tradition,” he states.

Participating in the ceremony will be graduating students from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College-Newark, the Graduate School-Newark, the Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick; the School of Criminal Justice and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

The School of Law-Newark and the College of Nursing will hold separate ceremonies on May 21 (Law) and May 22 (Nursing).

Prudential Center speaker Donald Katz is founder and chief executive officer of Newark-based Audible, Inc., the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment on the Internet, serving millions of listeners and offering more than 150,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals, and other programs.

Prior to founding Audible in 1995, Katz was a journalist and author for 20 years. His work won a National Magazine Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, among other prizes.

Under Katz’s leadership, audible.com commercialized the first portable digital audio player in 1997, four years before the introduction of the iPod. Audible is the exclusive supplier of audiobooks to Apple’s iTunes Store worldwide and operates 12 global outlets including audible.co.uk in London, audible.de in Berlin, and audible.fr in Paris. Audible was acquired by Amazon.com, Inc., in 2008 and is now an Amazon.com subsidiary.

Katz graduated from New York University in 1974, where he studied with novelist Ralph Ellison. He attributes his fascination with audio to Ellison, who emphasized the role of oral and vernacular culture as a fundamental underpinning of American literature. Katz also attended The University of Chicago as well as The London School of Economics, from which he holds a master of science in economics. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, where he served as a member of the public library board for nine years. He has served on the board of Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit organization that manages several of the most outstanding urban college preparatory charter schools in the Northeast, since the organization was founded in 1997. In February 2014, he was named chair of Newark’s Brick City Development Corporation.

The School of Law-Newark’s ceremony on May 21 is at 2 p.m., at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Approximately 230 law graduates will hear remarks from Rutgers Senior Vice President and General Counsel John J. Farmer Jr. during a combined commencement and graduation recognition program.

Some 200 members of the Rutgers College of Nursing Class of 2014 will take part in a 10:30 a.m. ceremony at the Golden Dome Athletic Center, and hear remarks by Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, director, Division of Training and Capacity Development of the United States Department of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Programs.