Rutgers-Newark Celebrates 2020 & 2021 Graduates In Person

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Newark, NJ, November 12, 2021—Families, friends, faculty, and staff who had been holding their applause for up to a year and a half finally got to show their pride and joy in Rutgers-Newark graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 in celebrations held this week.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center proved a festive setting for the nearly 1,000 graduates who crossed the stage of the Prudential Hall to be congratulated by their deans. To assure the health and safety of graduates and their nearly 2,000 supporters, celebrations were held over the course of three days.

It was the first opportunity for two deans who joined Rutgers-Newark in the first year of the global COVID-19 pandemic to officiate in person at graduation festivities. School of Criminal Justice Dean Bill McCarthy and School of Arts and Sciences Dean Jacqueline Mattis both joined the university on July 1, 2020. Prior to this week, neither had been able to congratulate their graduates en masse face to face.

“The distancing of the past year and a half has been particularly hard on students and their families, as well as on School of Criminal Justice faculty and staff,” said McCarthy. “We’re such a close-knit community that finally being able to be together, especially at such a joyful moment, was really meaningful for us all.”

He was joined by School of Public Affairs and Administration Dean Charles Menifield for combined celebrations for the two schools on November 8. Rutgers Business School Dean Lei Lei congratulated her undergraduate and graduate degree recipients in celebrations held November 9 and 10. In her delayed send off to Arts and Sciences graduates on November 10, Mattis expressed deep admiration for their accomplishments while also urging them to leverage their position to help future generations. “Every day you eat from trees you did not plant,” she said. “Every day you enjoy the fruits of someone else’s sacrifice and labor. You now have the responsibility to plant trees that will yield fruit for those who are coming behind you.”