Montclair State University to Award Honorary Doctorate to Bestselling Author James Patterson at May 23 Commencement

Patterson to Deliver Keynote Address to the Class of 2014 – the largest in the University’s History

Release Date: May 21, 2014

Montclair State University has named author James B. Patterson as its 2014 honorary doctorate degree recipient. He will deliver the keynote address and receive his honorary Doctor of Letters at Commencement, which will be held on Friday, May 23, 2014 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“James Patterson is not only one of the world’s best-known authors, he is also a passionate supporter of reading and education,” said Montclair State University president Dr. Susan A. Cole. “He is a valued friend of the University, who has generously funded scholarships for our teachers-in-training. I am proud to recognize his many accomplishments.”

Patterson, whose worldwide book sales total an estimated 300 million copies, is best known for his award-winning suspense and detective fiction, including the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and Women’s Murder Club series. His Maximum Ride and Daniel X series have made him the current bestselling author of young adult and middle grade fiction. The first author to sell more than 10 million e-books, Patterson holds the Guinness World Record for the most titles – 99 -- by a single author to appear on The New York Times hardcover bestseller list.

“I’ve always loved telling stories and even while working in advertising, I felt the urge to write them down,” Patterson said. “Every morning, I would wake up and write before going to work. I’ve never run out of stories that I wanted to tell and that keeps me writing today.”

Patterson’s storytelling ability has been amply rewarded. He is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Edgar, the International Thriller of the Year Award, the Reader’s Digest Reader’s Choice Award and the Children’s Choice Book Award for Author of the Year.

In 2013 alone, the author and his wife, Susan, funded more than $1 million in scholarships at a number of colleges and universities, including Montclair State, for future teachers who are committed to providing students with the foundation for a lifetime enjoyment of reading.  The first Patterson Scholarships at Montclair State were awarded in 2012 to eight undergraduate students. In fall 2013, sixteen undergraduate and five graduate students each received $7,500 a year.  This May, 12 scholarship recipients will graduate at commencement.

“I have read a lot of Mr. Patterson’s books and to get a scholarship from someone I respect so much is amazing,” said Patterson Scholarship recipient Kevin Crosetto. 

“The scholarship is competitive,” said Jan P. Johnson, a program assistant at the University’s Center of Pedagogy. “Teacher Education students pursuing certification in English or Elementary Education must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4. Although financial need is not a requirement for the scholarship, particular consideration is given to highly qualified students with financial need.”

“The quality of the Teacher Education program at Montclair State was immediately evident to me as I researched schools for Patterson Scholarships,” Patterson said. “I know Montclair State is committed to quality in education, and I want to help students eager to become great teachers.”

Family and Child Studies major Alexis Yumul received the Patterson Scholarship for both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. “This award allows me to focus 100% on my coursework,” she said. I can’t think of a more generous gift!”

Amanda Beodeker was awarded a Patterson Scholarship for the first time this year. “Being awarded a scholarship from Mr. Patterson, who is himself through his own writing a teacher, makes my student teaching all the more meaningful, as I am inspired to make learning and education meaningful and accessible to all.” 

“I am touched to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Montclair State,” said Patterson. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to address Montclair State’s graduating class.”

Montclair State will award 4,382 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to the Class of 2014 – the largest graduating class in its 106-year history.