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NJ Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Arts Leader John Schreiber to Keynote Commencements

Posted in: Press Releases, University

Photo from back of stage at Commencement at Prudential Center as graduates walk across the stage

The Montclair State University Board of Trustees has named New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) President and CEO John Schreiber as its May 2018 honorary degree recipients.

Oliver will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree during the University’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony to be held on Friday, May 25, at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Schreiber will address the graduates and receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree as part of the University’s Graduate School Commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 22, at the NJPAC in Newark.

A Dedicated Public Servant

“Sheila Oliver has dedicated herself to public service throughout her career,” says Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “A longtime member of the New Jersey General Assembly, she made history when she became only the second woman to serve as its speaker and just the second African-American woman in the nation to lead a legislative house.”

A Newark, New Jersey, native, Oliver earned a Master of Science degree in Community Organization, Planning and Administration from Columbia University after graduating from Lincoln University. She began her career working in the Newark Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training as Director of the Office of Youth Services and Special Projects. She later served as Director of the Essex County Division of Community Action, a federal anti-poverty initiative.

In 2003, Oliver was elected to represent District 34 – which includes East Orange, Orange, Montclair and Clifton – in the New Jersey General Assembly and was unanimously elected as its Speaker by Assembly Democrats in 2010. A staunch advocate for social justice and educational opportunity, she chaired the General Assembly’s Human Services Committee and served on its Joint Committee on the Public Schools, its Committee on Public Schools, and its Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.

After being selected by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy to be his running mate, Oliver was sworn in as New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor on January 16, 2018.

Now an East Orange resident, Oliver is a long-term supporter of community-based, nonprofit organizations, serving on the boards of groups that include the East Orange General Hospital; the Newark Coalition for Neighborhoods; the East Orange Board of Education; and the Global Women’s Leadership Collaborative of NJ. She also has been an active member of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey and Women in Government.

An Arts Center for Everyone

“John Schreiber is a leading innovator of the arts in New Jersey, someone whose vision and energies have ensured that the New Jersey Performing Arts Center is truly the people’s art center for our state,” says Cole. “He is also an award-winning producer of stage, television and music programs, documentary films and cause-related events.”

Schreiber became President and CEO of NJPAC in 2011. In 2013 he added the Arts Center’s real estate development portfolio to his responsibilities when he was named President of Theater Square Development Corporation.

Under Schreiber’s stewardship, NJPAC is now the country’s most diverse performing arts center in terms of programming, audience and staff.

Presenting over 500 events a year, the Arts Center also provides best in class arts education programs to more than 80,000 children and families each season. NJPAC is committed to engaging community by convening civic engagement events and serving as a driver of economic development in Newark.

NJPAC’s 23-story, 245-unit One Theater Square residential tower, the first ground up luxury housing built in Newark in 70 years, began leasing this month. The Arts Center is currently master planning mixed use development on an additional 7.1 acres of land on its campus.

An award-winning producer of stage, television and music programs, documentary films and cause-related events, Schreiber launched his career working for jazz impresario George Wein – ultimately becoming president of Festival Productions, the world’s largest producer of music festivals. His credits include the nationwide KOOL Jazz Festivals, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, among others.

Before taking the helm at NJPAC, Schreiber was executive vice president of social action and advocacy at Participant Media, where he was part of an executive team that produced such critically acclaimed films as An Inconvenient Truth, Lincoln, The Help and Waiting for Superman.

Schreiber’s producer credits include the multi-day President’s Summit for America’s Future that kicked off the America’s Promise volunteer initiative; Carnegie Hall’s annual American Popular Song celebration, and gala events at the White House for every President from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama. He created and produced The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, The New Yorker Festival, the Hard Rock Live television series for VH-1, and the nationwide Grammy Festivals.

The Montclair, New Jersey, resident won a Tony award in 2002 as lead producer of At Liberty, Elaine Stritch’s one-woman Broadway show, and a 2004 Emmy Award for executive producing the HBO documentary film based on it.

Schreiber attended Haverford College, and serves on the boards of the Newark Alliance, the Newark Trust for Education, Rutgers-Newark and First Book, a national children’s literacy nonprofit.

“Montclair State University sets a standard of excellence across so many subject areas it’s impossible to enumerate them all,” says Schreiber. “It’s one of the great honors of my life that MSU has chosen me for an honorary doctorate. Finally, I’ll be able to get a good table at any restaurant I want!”

Montclair State’s Graduate School Commencement ceremony will begin at 7p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at NJPAC. The University’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will take place at Prudential Center beginning at 11a.m. on Friday, May 25, 2018. For more information about either of these events, visit