Caldwell, N.J., May 17, 2015 – Caldwell University celebrated its 73rd annual commencement Sunday, May 17 in the George R. Newman Center on campus. For the first time in the university’s history, Caldwell held two ceremonies, a graduate ceremony and an undergraduate ceremony due to the institution’s growth.
Laura Schreiber delivered the student address at the graduate commencement ceremony. Schreiber, who received her M.A. in counseling with mental health/art therapy concentration, pointed to an article in Time Magazine in 2013 where writer Joel Stein described millennials as lazy, entitled and narcissistic. “Thankfully, I know that this assessment of our generation is not true in its entirety,” she said. She dared her fellow graduates to “boldly and practically” prove Stein and the magazine wrong by embracing five “truly challenging tasks.” Those tasks, she said, are to: “courageously reject apathy… guard your time fiercely, yet, still be generous with it… feel deeply… build community right where you are, and practice daily gratitude.” True success, she said, is not measured by one’s social media presence. “We are capable of deep thoughts, powerful feelings and social action.” She encouraged them to “have empathy as you see the pain in the world around you and to use that empathy to practice acts of compassion.”
Kathleen Flynn delivered the student address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Flynn, who received a B.A. in communication arts and political science, compared the students’ journey to the growth of a flower. “Four years ago, when we chose Caldwell University, we planted a proverbial seed on this campus…Today is the celebration of our blossoming.” There is a lot “we can learn from flowers. When we plant a seed we are learning to trust and believe in the future. When we stop and smell them, we are able to be in the moment. Even on the darkest days, sunflowers stand tall and find the sunlight,” she said.
An honorary degree was presented to philanthropist Michael Kambourakis who was integral to the founding of two nonprofits, the SEARCH Day program in Ocean, N.J. to assist those on the autism spectrum and the Dominican Republic Relief Organization to help the thousands of displaced Haitians who moved to the Dominican Republic after the 2010 earthquake. Kambourakis, who is president and owner of Terzako Furs in Caldwell, told the students to lend a hand to the less fortunate and be a humanitarian. “Dream big dreams, but don’t be a dreamer. Be a doer.”
Caldwell University awarded approximately 380 students with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. President Nancy H. Blattner presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Science degrees. She presented undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. “It is a day of great joy and pride for the faculty, staff and administration of Caldwell as we send forth our 73rd class of graduates to make a positive impact upon the world,” she said.
The grand marshal of the graduate ceremony was Dr. Kenneth F. Reeve, the Alvin R. Calman Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis, and the grand marshall for the undergraduate ceremony was Dr. Marie Mullaney, professor of history. Honored alumni from the 50th anniversary class of 1965 were recognized at the undergraduate ceremony.