WEST LONG BRANCH: The first ever Graduates Commencement at Monmouth University was held at the once Multipurpose Activity Center, the MAC, now the Ocean First Bank Center, in the many-athletics gym, race way and basketball arena.
For newly appointed President Grey J. Dimenna it was another first. He had served as the school's attorney for many years before replacing the retiring Paul Brown. He presided over the day's program, introducing soloist Alexandra Stambaugh for the National Anthem. Then rev. William Lago, St. Denis Roman Catholic in Manasquan for the Invocation.
Dr. James Konopack was introduced as 2017 Distinguished Teacher of the year as the program got underway. It was 1:00 P.M.
Chair of the Board of Trustees Henry D. Mercer extended greetings to the graduates with most enthusiastic cheers from the audience.
Trustee Christopher Maher conferred an Honorary Degree of Laws honoris causa on Joseph M. Rigby. '83M who went on to present his Commencement Address.
Mr. Rigby is Board Chair, President and CEO OF Pepco Holdings, Inc. headquartered in Washington DC.
He offered several points of his learning as the graduates step off into careers. He advised that changes in career directions should be expected and freedom of choice by individuals. He encouraged open mindedness and self-confidence as things and circumstances come about. He added from his own experiences, including making decisions only an individual can make, including, in his case, a life partner as friendships blossom and are cultivated, his wife his example.
The diplomas were awarded by Curriculum schools. Each student announced and awarded by the school heads. The time was exciting with cheers acknowledging the successes of each.
This was the second ceremony of the week. The preceding day was for the undergraduates' ceremony held the day before on May 10 at the Garden State Art Center on the Parkway. That graduation was for 500 grads, and included guest speaker Bobbi Brown, cosmetics entrepreneur and author now a division of the Estee Lauter company with Brown retaining the lead role in her operations.
Her words of congratulations included suggestions that students take on a somewhat entrepreneur approach to their careers. Take initiative, she said. Take action, not just following the crowd. Accept there will be risk and take it, embracing fears that may come by taking charge. Be nice, she said with all, even when situations may lean you to do otherwise, since being nice helps you as well as the other person or organization.
Lastly learn balance, using judgement to guide you to all of life's experiences.
The two days held rewards and gifts of wisdom for future success.