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As a student ambassador in the Caldwell University Admissions Office, Dennis Brady gave many tours to high school students and their parents during his college career.

Brady, who was the commencement speaker at Caldwell University’s undergraduate ceremony May 20, always drove home the same message on his tours—Caldwell is a home, and the experience you will get there is not what you will encounter at a big school where you are a number in a huge lecture hall. “The small classroom sizes, the family-like community of our campus, and the continuous help from professors is something that can’t be replicated anywhere else,” says Brady.

Brady, of West Orange, New Jersey,  went to high school at Seton Hall Preparatory, and when he was looking at colleges he did not give Caldwell University much thought even though his sister Melissa had raved about it and had excelled on all levels as a student. But then he finally made a campus visit. “I had to look at schools all around the country to discover that my dream school was right in my own backyard.”

As a commuter who was very involved in campus life, he tells other commuters they can have a full university experience. “If you just get out of your car, go to class and get back in your car and go home, you lose out on experiencing what Caldwell has to offer.” Students have to break out of their comfort zones to “experience Caldwell on a deeper level and all it has to offer.”

And Brady had that deeper experience. His communications background extended to leadership on campus where he was an orientation leader and was a founder of the campus Operation Smile club, which provides surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions. “To be able to be president of a club that I was so passionate about was a blessing and extremely rewarding.” Brady is proud that the club held fundraising events such as coffee houses and karaoke nights and sent cards and care packages to children. He is a member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi, and at honors convocation on April 25, he received the Communication and Media Studies Department award.

As a communication and media studies major with a minor in business administration, Brady appreciated that his professors were always readily available to answer questions. He looks forward to pursuing a communications career, having completed two internships—with Sirius XM’s Shade 45 program and with “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” on Z100. He is grateful for the “three years in the classroom with the practical experience and then being able to take it to a different level in the big city.”

Brady leaves Caldwell grateful for all that the university has done “in those transitional years between being a child and becoming an adult” and for inspiring him and other students to grow “in ethics, faith and caring about others.”