Montclair State University conferred doctoral and master’s degrees in science and mathematics, humanities and the social sciences, business, the arts and education to students who completed their degree requirements in spring 2017 at its Graduate School Commencement exercises on Monday, May 22 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over the exercises and Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP), delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Rodriguez was born in Cuba and immigrated with his parents to the United States when he was a child. He is a first-generation college graduate, earning BA and MBA degrees from Harvard University before joining ADP in 1999. He was named president and CEO in 2011 and has been included in NJBIZ’s Power 100, the publication’s annual list of the 100 most powerful people in New Jersey business, each year since 2014.
In his remarks, using his own life story as an illustration, Rodriquez stressed the importance of education and effort as the secrets to success, telling the graduates, “Education and hard work…this, at the core, is it.” He also advised: “Do not sell yourself short. Don’t wait for the opportunities to find you – seek them out. And then say ‘yes!’”
The celebration marked the first time that the University has held a Commencement ceremony exclusively for students of The Graduate School; the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony for spring 2017 was held on May 25. Additionally, a Commencement ceremony was held on January 23 for the students who graduated in August 2016 and January 2017.
The new, three-ceremony format was instituted to meet both the wishes of its student body and the needs of a record enrollment of 21,000 students.
“What you will carry of value with you from this place tonight, is not a piece of paper attesting to your degree,” said Cole in her remarks to the graduates, “but rather the potential and some of the powerful tools you will need to live the kind of life that contributes to the shaping of the world.”
Watch the full spring 2017 Graduate School Commencement video.