Montclair State University’s 2018 Commencement ceremonies made history on two counts: the first graduates of the University’s School of Nursing received their BSN degrees and the total number of graduates University-wide set a new record, at 5,309 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees conferred.
Bachelor’s degrees in science and mathematics, humanities and the social sciences, business, the arts, education and nursing were awarded at the Undergraduate Commencement exercises held Friday, May 25 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over the exercises and the Commencement address was delivered by New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
A committed and respected advocate for the people of New Jersey, Lieutenant Governor Oliver has served in numerous governmental capacities at the municipal, county and state levels. Starting as director of the Office of Youth Services and Special Projects for the City of Newark, she moved on to work at a number of colleges and spent several years as the director of the Essex County Division of Community Action, an anti-poverty initiative established by the federal government.
Beginning in 1996, Oliver served as an Essex County Freeholder for three years, and as a member of the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey representing the 34th District for 14 years, including two terms as the first African-American woman to serve as Speaker of the General Assembly. In 2017, Oliver was elected Lieutenant Governor of the State of New Jersey with a dual appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
Addressing the graduates, Oliver said, “Your generation is proving itself impatient to leave its mark, and so I say, go out and do it!”
“This is an awesome day for which you have worked hard and long,” Oliver said. “But it’s really just the beginning of your journey. Go out and write something wonderful with your life.”
Greetings from the senior class were offered by Toni Lynn Jassel, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics. Jassel told her fellow graduates “We all have the ability to accomplish greatness, and we get to define what that greatness will be. So, go on, and eagerly live the life you are destined to live. The life we worked hard for.
Go to bed proud, and wake up with the courage to be your most true self.”
The two Graduate School Commencement ceremonies for doctoral and master’s degree recipients were held earlier on January 14 and May 22 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.