Montclair State University conferred 668 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 between August 2018 and January 2019 at its Graduate School Commencement exercises on Saturday, January 19 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over the exercises and the Commencement address was delivered by award-winning broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, who received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
Woodruff, who is anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour, has covered politics and other news in a decorated career spanning more than four decades. A veteran journalist for flagship television networks NBC, CNN and PBS, Woodruff served as chief Washington correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS from 1983 to 1993 before moving to CNN to serve as anchor and senior correspondent for 12 years. Returning to NewsHour, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first women to co-anchor a national news broadcast.
“I’m here today with one main message: to tell you that we need you,” Woodruff told the graduates. “We need your brains. We need your talent. We need your willingness to work hard and we need your values. We need each one of you to dedicate yourself to making your part of the world a better place,”
Woodruff is the recipient of numerous awards, including, among others, the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Television. She is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation and serves on the boards of numerous organizations.
Woodruff urged the graduates to stay connected and give back, and to remember Dr. Martin Luther King. “It’s so important to remember what he stood for – the very best of human nature, the dropping of racial barriers, the respect for one another no matter our background, that we judge one another not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.”
The celebration marked the first of two Commencement ceremonies for students of The Graduate School in 2019. The second, for those who complete their degree requirements in the spring, will be held on May 21 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The 2019 Commencement ceremony for undergraduate students will take place on May 24 at Prudential Center in Newark.