Pomp, Circumstance, and Kilts: Convocations at Rutgers-Newark

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Class of 2012 Will Hear from A Former Governor, Leaders of Business, Law, Public Safety

What can you expect in May as the eight schools of Rutgers University in Newark award bachelors, masters, doctorates and Juris Doctor degrees?

  • Colorful, noisy processions, seven in total, each with hundreds of graduates and faculty members wearing full regalia, accompanied by vibrant banners for each of the colleges and schools that comprise Rutgers-Newark.  Several of the processions will be led by kilts-clad bagpipers and drummers.  Each march will wind its way through the streets of downtown Newark, some going all the way to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center,  en route to one of seven convocation ceremonies spanning May 14-25.
  • Nearly 2,200 graduates whose faces will reflect that they are saying farewell to the most diverse national university in the U.S.
  • Seven speakers who will range from the former governor who headed the 9/11 commission, to Detroit’s police chief, to the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey. 

A complete list of ceremony dates, times, speakers and locations appears is at; tickets are required for NJPAC, including tickets for media. Seating at all ceremonies is first come/first served.  The NJPAC and the Golden Dome Athletic Center are handicapped-accessible. 

Here are highlights of the 2012 convocations for Rutgers University in Newark.

Newark College of Arts and Sciences (NCAS)  and University College (UC), Monday, May 14, 10 a.m., New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), 1 Center St., Newark

One of the nation's most respected public leaders, Thomas Kean, will address 506 NCAS and 43 UC bachelor’s recipients.  As New Jersey governor, he was instrumental in both the creation of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and its location in Newark.  His accomplishments include jobs creation, welfare reform, environmental protections, and education reform. Kean enjoyed both immense popular support and broad bipartisan support among the state’s political leaders.

Kean holds a special place in the history of higher education in New Jersey: As a member of the state legislature he co-sponsored the legislation that established the Educational Opportunity Fund in 1986.

Kean was head of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission. He also was president of Drew University, Madison, N.J.


Rutgers Business School (RBS)-Newark and New Brunswick, Undergraduate Convocation, Monday, May 14, 2 p.m., NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark

Linda Bowden, regional president of PNC Bank, is the speaker for the first of the two RBS ceremonies, addressing 379 students who have completed bachelor’s degrees in business. In her role at PNC, she both provides executive leadership and supports client relationship and business development initiatives across the firm’s lines of business in the region.  Bowden also supports the company’s community-based activities.


  Rutgers Business School -Newark and New Brunswick, Graduate Convocation, Monday, May 14, 6 p.m., NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark

Dr. Rana Kapoor, founder, managing director and CEO of YES Bank, will speak to 433 master’s and Ph.D. graduates of RBS.   Kapoor’s vision is to create “the best quality bank of the world in India” by 2015.  His honors include “2011 Banker of the Year” award from Business Standard, the 2011 Asia Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year award from Enterprise Asia, and the Entrepreneurial Banker of the Decade award from the Bombay Management Association.


Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (SCJ), Wednesday, May 16, 10 a.m., Rutgers Golden Dome Athletic Center, 110 Warren St., Newark

SCJ’s 157 bachelor’s and master’s graduates will hear speaker Ralph Godbee Jr., chief of police for the City of Detroit since 2010, rose through the department’s ranks since he began his career there in 1987. He is active in community organizations, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives – Metro-Detroit Chapter, Detroit Police and Fire Pension Board; and Police Executive Research Forum.  


Rutgers College of Nursing, Thursday, May 17, 10 a.m., Rutgers Golden Dome Athletic Center, 110 Warren St., Newark

Andrea Higham, director of Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future, will address 142 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates.  The public awareness campaign was created to enhance the image of the nursing profession, recruit new nurses and nurse faculty, and retain current nurses.  Higham’s efforts have helped to raise millions of dollars for nursing scholarships, programs and faculty fellowships, as well as national recognition from numerous corporate, media and health care organizations.


Rutgers Graduate School-Newark (GS-N) and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA), May 17, 2 p.m., Rutgers Golden Dome Athletic Center,  110 Warren St., Newark

Dr. Maggie Shiffrar will address 155 master’s and doctoral graduates of GS-N and 81 bachelor’s and master’s graduates of SPAA.  A renowned researcher in the Rutgers-Newark psychology department, Shiffrar’s work focuses on the interplay of vision, movement and social behavior.  Her visual analysis of bodily motion has practical implications, such as automobile systems that can help prevent, or minimize, accidents by detecting pedestrians in the path of cars.  Shiffrar is also working with Homeland Security to learn how to identify people who might pose security threats by analyzing their body movements.


Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Friday May 25, 10 a.m., NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark

Commencement speaker Paul Fishman was appointed and sworn as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey in October 2009.  He is responsible for overseeing all federal criminal investigations and prosecutions  within the state -- as well as litigation of all civil matters --  in which the federal government has an interest.  He will address 226 Juris Doctor graduates. Fishman, a federal prosecutor in Newark for 11 years, also spent three years as a senior Justice Department adviser.



Maps, directions, parking:   Media contact: Carla Capizzi, 973/353-5263, or email: