Rutgers University-Newark Commencement-at-a-Glance

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On May 18, Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) honored approximately 2,275 graduate and undergraduate students receiving their degrees at the Prudential Center. Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Provost Jerome Williams presided over the ceremony that included the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, Graduate School-Newark, the Rutgers Business School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

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The Graduate School held a separate hooding ceremony for graduates receiving doctoral degrees and master of fine arts degrees in creative writing. Rutgers Business School’s commencement ceremony for graduate students will take place on Friday, May 20, and Rutgers Law School’s commencement will take place on Friday, May 27 – both ceremonies will be held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  

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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka congratulated the class of 2016 and introduced RU-N’s commencement speaker, award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. O’Brien urged graduates to find their passion and make positive changes in the world.

“Do not listen to other people’s take on the life you should lead,” cautioned O’Brien.

O’Brien’s words were complimented by student speaker Madeleine Ramos (NCAS ’16) who shared her dream of becoming one of the first women in history to travel to all 193 countries in the United Nations. Ramos also praised her peers for being committed and engaged with local and international populations during their time at the university.

“We committed ourselves to our community,” Ramos said.

After Ramos’s address, Williams presented a Doctor of Humane Letters degree to human rights activist Radhika Coomaraswamy before the conferring of degrees to the graduates.

Of RU-N’s graduates, approximately 1,415 are graduate students and approximately 860 are undergraduates. Below are a few of RU-N’s talented graduates.

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Madeline Ramos, College of Arts and Sciences




Natasha Southerland, MPA, School of Public Affairs and Administration




Ashley D’Inverno, Ph.D., Graduate School



Omar Bareentto, Rutgers Law School



Andreas Economou-Ellison, School of Criminal Justice



Sonali Shah, Rutgers Business School



Onyedikachi Aligbe, College of Arts and Sciences



Jaleesa McEachin, School of Criminal Justice




Lee Caplan, College of Arts and Sciences