Montclair State University conferred 2,277 degrees in science and mathematics, humanities and the social sciences, business, the arts and education to students who graduated in August 2016 and January 2017 during its Commencement exercises on Monday, January 23 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over the exercises and Tony-nominated actor Frankie Faison delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
An internationally recognized actor of stage and screen, Faison’s career has spanned four decades featuring more than 100 film and television appearances, as well as numerous Broadway productions. His career has featured roles in movies including The Silence of the Lambs and Mississippi Burning, and he starred as Commissioner Ervin Burrell in HBO’s The Wire. His role on Broadway as Gabriel in Fences earned him nominations for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.
“Each of you can make a difference,” Faison told the graduates, encouraging them to go forward with open hearts and minds. “I urge you all to be the masters of your fates – be the captains of your souls.”
Greetings from the graduate students were offered by Stanley Fils, who received a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and will be pursuing his passion in entrepreneurial ventures and investments.
Maria Del Mar Miranda spoke on behalf of the senior class. Miranda, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health, plans to pursue a career in community health education and eventually return to school for a degree in nursing.
The celebration marked the first time that the University has held a mid-academic-year Commencement ceremony – a new format brought about to meet both the wishes of its student body and the needs of a record enrollment of 21,000 students. Montclair State also held Commencement ceremonies for spring 2017 graduates on May 22 for graduate students and May 25 for undergraduate students.