Emmy Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, best known for her 16-year role as the NYPD lieutenant on the popular television series Law & Order, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Commencement exercises on May 24, where she will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
Merkerson’s role as Lt. Anita Van Buren earned her three NAACP Image Awards; she received Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her work in the 2005 HBO film Lackawanna Blues and Tony Award nominations for The Piano Lesson in 1991 and Come Back, Little Sheba in 2008.
She has appeared in the films Navy Seals, Jacob’s Ladder, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Radio, Black Snake Moan and Lincoln. She directed the 2012 documentary The Contradictions of Fair Hope about the Fair Hope Benevolent Society. Merkerson is also a committed advocate for lung cancer prevention and actively works with children to spread awareness about the dangers of smoking. Originally from Detroit, Mich., she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University and currently lives in New York City.
Commencement begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 24, at the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. For more about Commencement, go to montclair.edu/commencement.
Pre-commencement Convocation ceremonies, which celebrate students’ individual achievements within their colleges, will be held from May 19 to May 21. For more information about these ceremonies, visit montclair.edu/commencement/convocations.
The University will live stream the Commencement ceremony starting at 10 a.m. at montclair.edu/webcast.