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Caldwell, N.J., May 21, 2017– Caldwell University held its 75th annual commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21 with 482 graduates, the largest in the institution’s history.

The undergraduate commencement speaker was Shyam Sharma, president of the Student Government Association.   Sharma, of Lodi, New Jersey reminded the students  of Caldwell’s core values of  respect, integrity, community, excellence and the responsibility they have in upholding those values, “going forward: embrace the diversity of everyone you meet, and take care to notice what makes them special.” Sharma received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with minors in marketing, pre-law and political science.

Matthew J. Block, director of human resources for the Summit public schools, was the commencement speaker for the graduate ceremony.  He received his Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership. He pointed out that in a time of blurred lines, fake news, and alternative facts, it is important to analyze data, conduct deep research, and use the lessons learned in graduate school to change the world for the better.  “Through our experiences here at Caldwell University each of us has been given a metaphorical mirror with which to reflect light into dark places.  We have been given the tools to be a positive force where there is negativity, and to provide clarity where there is ambiguity.”

President Nancy Blattner said the day is one of great joy and pride for all of the parents, family members and friends who have supported the students over the years.  “And it is a day of celebration for the faculty, staff and administration of Caldwell as we send forth our 75th class of graduates to make a positive impact upon our world.”

The university presented an honorary degree to Olive Woodye, an outstanding educator from Belize, a country where Caldwell University students, faculty and staff have served on volunteer mission trips. Woodye was honored for her service to children, education and her community. She was the first principal of St. Benedict Primary School, a model Roman Catholic school in Punta Gorda in the Toledo district of Belize. Miss Olive said she accepted the honorary degree with gratitude and pride. “This degree is very significant and special to me. I accept it in the name of all the children I taught during the 44 years of my teaching career, and of course, the class of 2017 without whom this would not have been possible.”

Undergraduate and graduate students wore academic attire made from 100 percent-recycled plastic bottles. The company the university chose, Greenweaver, reports that an average of 23 plastic bottles are used to produce each cap and gown.

Dr. Blattner  presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.’s and Ed.D.’s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees and undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees.

The first two graduates from the educational leadership doctoral program received their degrees. They were Block and Lauren Banker, an elementary school principal with the Summit public schools.

The 50th reunion class participated in the undergraduate ceremony.

Stephen Maret, Ph.D., professor of psychology and counseling was the grand marshall for the undergraduate ceremony.

John R. McIntyre, Ed.D., professor emeritus, Education Division, was the grand marshall for the graduate ceremony.

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 30 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II athletic teams and numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities, and activities. It is located on a beautiful 70-acre campus in suburban Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit

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