Scientist Carl Djerassi, Inventor Of “The Pill,” Will Speak At Rutgers Convocation In Newark May 17

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ConAgra CEO, NJ State Police Superintendent, NJ Supreme Court Justice Among Speakers at Other Rutgers Ceremonies in Newark

NEWARK, N.J., April 28, 2010)

– The eight schools of Rutgers University in Newark will host six separate convocation ceremonies in May, awarding bachelors, masters, doctorates and Juris Doctors degrees to 2,846 graduates. Rutgers also will bestow an honorary degree upon Carl Djerassi, an emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University who was the first researcher to synthesize a steroid oral contraceptive, during the largest of its ceremonies. A complete list of ceremony dates, times, speakers and locations appears on pg. 4.

Convocation activities for Rutgers in Newark begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 17. Rutgers alumnus Gary Rodkin — ConAgra Foods president and chief executive officer (CEO) –will address 528 graduates of the Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (NJPAC). ConAgra brands include Healthy Choice®, Orville Redenbacher’s®, Hunt’s® and Hebrew National®. Prior to joining ConAgra, Rodkin was chairman and CEO of PepsiCo® Beverages and Foods North America.

At 2 p.m. that same day, 632 graduates will assemble in NJPAC for the largest ceremony, the joint convocation of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences and the University College. During the ceremony, Rutgers President Richard McCormick will award an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Djerassi, who also is the speaker for the ceremony.

Djerassi has a strong Newark connection: he came to the U.S. from Austria in the 1930s, attending high school and junior college in the city. He was the first researcher to synthesize a steroid oral contraceptive –norethindrone, commonly known as “the Pill” – a breakthrough that earned him the National Medal of Science in 1973. In addition, Djerassi pioneered advances in the areas of steroid anti-inflammatory agents and antihistamines. Djerassi, who is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, has also written five novels and eight plays that have been performed in New York, Tokyo and London. His native Austria issued a postage stamp in his honor in 2004.

Convocation ceremonies move to the Rutgers Golden Dome Athletic Center on May 18. That morning, 147 Rutgers College of Nursing graduates will hear an address by Dr. Beverly Malone, Ph.D. and RN, chief executive officer of the National League for Nursing. She served six years as the general secretary for the Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom, the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world, and as deputy assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

At 2 p.m. on May 18, the Golden Dome is the setting for the joint convocation ceremony for the Rutgers Graduate School-Newark (307 graduates) and the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (95 graduates), where the speaker will be Dr. Glenn Shafer, Rutgers Board of Governors Professor at the Rutgers Business School –Newark and New Brunswick. In his 1976 book A Mathematical Theory of Evidence, Shafer advanced a new theory of probability judgment, the Dempster-Shafer theory, based on work by his teacher, Arthur Dempster. Today the Dempster-Shafer theory is well-known in the field of artificial intelligence and other computer science disciplines, as well as in statistics. A Princeton University graduate, Shafer and his wife, historian, artist and author Nell Irvin Painter, are residents of Newark.

On Friday, May 21, the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (197 BS degrees, 17 MA degrees) will hold a 10 a.m. convocation ceremony in the Rutgers Golden Dome Athletic Center. The speaker is Col. Rick Fuentes, who devoted his entire law enforcement career to the New Jersey State Police, becoming superintendent in 2003. He began as a general road duty trooper in 1978, then served as an instructor, a supervisor with Narcotics Units, the Street Gang Unit, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Jersey State Police; and the chief of the Intelligence Bureau.

The chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Honorable Stuart J. Rabner, is the main speaker for the final R-N convocation. At 10 a.m. on May 28, in NJPAC, 260 graduates will receive degrees from the Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Prior to being sworn as the eighth chief justice in 2007, Rabner served as the state’s attorney general. The New Jersey native served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark in 1986, holding numerous positions, including chief of the Criminal Division, focusing on public corruption issues. In 2006 he became chief counsel to former Governor Jon Corzine.

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

Tickets required for NJPAC; seating is first come/first served. NJPAC and the Golden Dome Athletic Center are handicapped-accessible.

Monday, May 17, 2010, 10 a.m., RUTGERS BUSINESS SCHOOL-NEWARK AND NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St., Newark

Monday, May 17, 2010, 2 p.m., JOINT CONVOCATION: NEWARK COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES and UNIVERSITY COLLEGE-NEWARK New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St., Newark
The joint ceremony will be simulcast live in the Multipurpose Room of the Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. No Tickets Needed to Watch the Broadcast of the Ceremony in the Multipurpose Room.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 10 a.m., RUTGERS COLLEGE OF NURSING, Golden Dome Athletic Center, 110 Warren St., Newark


Friday, May 21, 2010, 10 a.m., RUTGERS SCHOOL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Golden Dome Athletic Center, 110 Warren St., Newark

Friday, May 28, 2010, 10 a.m., RUTGERS SCHOOL OF LAW-NEWARK
New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St., Newark