It’s Hail and Farewell to the 2,900 Members of the Class of 2015 in Ceremonies on May 16, 18 and 22

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A scene from 2013's commencement
Mellon Foundation President Earl Lewis Will Address Joint Convocation on May 18

On Monday, May 18, Newark’s Prudential Center will again host a multi-school commencement ceremony for graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers Business School (undergraduate), University College, the Graduate School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.  Members of the Class of 2015 also will also see an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree bestowed upon Dr. Earl Lewis, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a highly regarded historian and author and co-editor of seven books, as well as the 11-volume The Young Oxford History of African Americans. Lewis will give the commencement address.

The joint Rutgers University-Newark ceremony will be presided over by Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Provost Todd Clear, beginning at 9 a.m. The Prudential Center is at 25 Lafayette St., Newark. Nineteen-hundred graduates are expected to participate.

A separate hooding ceremony for the Graduate School will take place May 16 at 3 p.m., and will recognize both PhD recipients and graduates of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Dr. Alexis Rodriguez, Biological Sciences, RU-N, will deliver the address; the ceremony is in the Essex Room, Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The Rutgers School of Law will hold a separate convocation on May 22 at 10 a.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), 1 Center St., Newark. Some 230 graduates will be addressed by the Honorable Barry T. Albin, New Jersey Supreme Court Justice and a Rutgers College alumnus. Biography at

Nearly 730 Rutgers Business School graduates completing masters and PhD degrees will be honored at a May 22 ceremony, at 4 p.m., also in NJPAC.  Rutgers College alumnus Arthur Certosimo will address the graduates. He recently retired from Bank of New York Mellon as senior executive vice president.

Honorary degree recipient Earl Lewis holds master and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota.  He is a renowned historian and one of the nation’s leading scholars of African American studies. The son of a school teacher in the Jim Crow South, he overcame pervasive disadvantages of being educated in segregated elementary and middle schools. A member of the cohort that integrated his high school in Chesapeake, Va., he earned a National Merit Scholarship for Minority Students and attended Concordia (Minn.) College,  earning a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology.

Well known for his leadership in higher education at the national level, Lewis is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on the boards of directors of the Educational Testing Service and the National Academies Board of Higher Education Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs Committee. He has also served on the boards of the American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Research Libraries and on many higher education task forces. He was a member of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

Lewis has held faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan and Emory University. At Michigan, he ultimately served as vice provost for academic affairs/graduate studies and dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. At Emory, he became provost and the executive vice president for academic affairs.

As president of The Mellon Foundation, he oversees one of the world’s largest foundations, with more than $6 billion in assets. It makes grants in higher education and scholarship in the humanities; scholarly communications; diversity; arts and cultural heritage; international and higher education and strategic projects.

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