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Alumni Speakers Welcome the Class of 2023

Words of wisdom, our graduates’ generosity, and what comes next for Montclair’s newest alumni.

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

Graduates at commencement

Congratulations, Class of 2023! You are officially members of the Montclair State University alumni network! The Montclair alumni network is a powerful group of more than 145,000 fellow Red Hawks in virtually every profession, across all fifty states, and in more than 75 countries worldwide. Tap into your alumni network and stay connected to Montclair. The Class was welcomed into the network by alumni who spoke at the three Commencement ceremonies – Chris Fitzpatrick ’04,  Taylor Jeffers ’13, ’16 MBA and Clayton Cole ’10.

Chris Fitzpatrick, ’04

Chris Fitzpatrick ’04 imparted words of inspiration to graduates of the Feliciano School of Business and College of the Arts during the first Commencement Ceremony. He received a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in Management and Marketing from Montclair, and currently serves as Senior Manager, Talent Development at Crestron Electronics. Fitzpatrick provides career resources and recruits on campus. He serves in mentorship roles and also is an accomplished motivational speaker. In his time at Montclair, he served as President of the Student Government Association. Fitpatrick commented:

“I hope our alumni realize that they continue to be supported by the Montclair State community after they graduate. One minute, they are studying at one of the most vibrant, diverse, and reputable institutions in the world, and the next minute, they are part of a network of more than 145,000 people who once called Montclair State their educational home. A degree from Montclair State helps open up a world of endless possibilities, but it is up to the graduate to make the best of the education they have earned. And that is my second hope – that our alumni are not “former students,” but lifelong learners who strive to make the world around them better each day. That’s what it means to be a Red Hawk.”

Chris Fitzpatrick ’04 makes his address at the first Commencement ceremony.

Taylor Jeffers ’13, ’16 MBA

At the second ceremony, Taylor Jeffers ’13, ’16 MBA, gave her send off to graduates from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Nursing and University College. Jeffers owns and operates Taylormade it, a brand consulting business for influencers and small businesses. Jeffers currently serves on the Black Alumni Advisory Council as a member of the Programming Committee, and has previously served as a mentor in the Accelerated MBA Program. Jeffers noted:

“It was a privilege to address the class of 2023 and an inspiration to see so many hopeful faces ready to make an impact on the world. I want our graduates to know that it’s so important that they invest in relationships, maintain a strong work ethic, and uphold an unwavering understanding of their value. And while obstacles are inevitable, they can rest assured that behind the scenes, dots are being connected in their favor.”

Taylor Jeffers ’13, ’16 MBA before the crowd at the second Commencement ceremony.

Clayton Cole ’10
The third ceremony covered the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Science and Mathematics. These graduates received words of wisdom from alumnus Clayton Cole ’10. Cole received his BS in Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting and currently works as Associate Manager of Global Recruitment at Dynamic Solutions, LLC. He is also the Founder & President of C.H.C. Studios, Inc., a New Jersey nonprofit organization geared toward underserved youth in the areas of dance and academic leadership. Cole remains connected to the University as a co-chair of the Black Alumni Advisory Council’s Programming Committee. Cole remarked:

“On the journey towards success, it’s essential for our youth to understand that the path is rarely a straight line. However, with an open mind, a strong network, and the willingness to learn and grow, you possess the power to surpass your wildest dreams. The future is yours to shape. Utilize platforms like MONTCLAIRconnect, the Montclair alumni online community, to establish meaningful connections. Be sure to surround yourself with individuals who inspire you and believe in your potential. Reach out to an accomplished alumnus or alumna in your desired field, someone who holds a position that ignites your passion. Together, you can create a network that propels you toward success. Remember, success lies not only in the destination but also in the transformative process.”

Clayton Cole ’10 speaks at the third Commencement ceremony

Class of 2023 Class Gift

Each year, our graduating class participates in a proud Class Gift tradition where members of the class invest in the University by supporting areas of Montclair State that are most important to them. The class gift shows the importance of giving back, and empowers graduates to help fellow students succeed. This spring, graduates were asked to support the area of campus they feel most passionate about, such as the Emergency Book Fund or Red Hawk Pantry. The Class of 2023 stepped up in a big way, raising $7,748 from 291 donors. Graduates donating $20.23, in honor of their class year, received an alumni medallion, which they wore proudly at Commencement.

A Class of 2023 Gift participant proudly wears the alumni medallion at Commencement.

Class of 2023, remember that your connection to Montclair State University doesn’t end the day you graduate – it lasts a lifetime! We invite you to stay connected to your alma mater. There are so many ways to get involved!

The best way to stay connected is through MONTCLAIRconnect, the online community exclusively for Montclair alumni. MONTCLAIRconnect serves as your portal to all things alumni – including valuable networking tools, a directory to search for classmates, affinity networking groups, listings of events and activities, access to benefits including career resources and special discounts. You can even create your very own personal Montclair State University alumni Gmail account –

Affinity Networks
The Office of Alumni Engagement is your link to numerous affinity groups, such as the Attorney Alumni Network (AAN), Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC), Hispanic Latinx Alumni Network (HLAN), Recent Alumni Network (RAN) and Women’s Initiative Network (WIN). These groups plan events and activities ranging from social gatherings to career workshops to cultural outings to community service to lifelong learning opportunities. 

Read more about affinity networks here.

Volunteers are very important to the work of the Office of Alumni Engagement. The Office relies on volunteers to serve on alumni committees, help out at events like homecoming, host events outside of our local Montclair area and much more. Volunteers also serve as mentors to current students and fellow alumni, speak before classes or even serve on a panel.

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Staying Connected
Stay in the loop about alumni events and happenings at the University by following us on social. 

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Be sure to like and follow our new Facebook page to be entered to win a t-shirt or a cozy plush throw blanket!

Update Your Contact Information
Finally, make sure we have your most up-to-date contact information so that you receive all of your invitations and announcements.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your alumni engagement team at or 973-655-4141. We hope to see you soon! 


Photos from alumni events:

Members of the Recent Alumni Network pose for a photo during the 2023 Winter Social at the Shannon Rose in Clifton.


Alumni enjoying our 2022 Summer Social at McLoone’s Boathouse in West Orange.
It was smiling faces all around at the Black Alumni Barbecue presented by the Black Alumni Advisory Council on June 10, 2023.