Fairleigh Dickinson University holds 71st Commencement on May 20

 More than 3,000 Students from 72 Countries and 38 States to Receive Degree


On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. will be the site for the 71st Commencement ceremony of Fairleigh Dickinson University. More than 3,000 students will receive doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. 

The Commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live on the Web, allowing family and friends around the world to share the ceremony with the graduates. The live stream begins at 8 a.m. EDT with the scrolling of the names of the graduates and Grad Greetings, followed by the full commencement ceremony. A link on the FDU home page (http://www.fdu.edu) will go directly to the live stream. For webcast information, visit http://www.fdu.edu/commencement.

The campus provosts will present the Student Pinnacle Awards to this year’s winners: Megan Fry from the Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck, N.J., Marah Geltzer from the Florham Campus in Madison, N.J., and Rumbidzai “Rumbi” Kabatebate from the Vancouver Campus in British Columbia, Canada.

During the ceremony, the University will confer honorary degrees on Joyce Carol Oates, Rachel Robinson and Sung Mo “Steve” Kang (BSEE’70).

Class Facts

Numbering just over 3,000, FDU’s class of 2014 hails from 72 countries and 38 states plus Washington, D.C. The top five most popular undergraduate majors are individualized studies, psychology, nursing, communication, and criminal justice, while the top five most popular graduate majors are administrative science, teaching, accounting, business administration, and public administration.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is an acclaimed, bestselling author known for her novels, stories, poetry and essays. She won the National Book Award for 1969's them.

Oates attended Syracuse University, where she graduated as valedictorian in 1960. She went on to receive her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin the following year and she began her career at the University of Detroit as a professor. In 1970, she moved to the University of Windsor in Canada to continue teaching, where she and her husband, Raymond Smith, worked as co-editors on the The Ontario Review. Oates moved to Princeton University in the late 1970s to take another teaching position.

Oates’ first book was her 1963 story collection By the North Gate followed by her debut novel, With Shuddering Fall, in 1964. Other notable works from Oates include National Book Award-winner them (1969) which is a layered chronicle of urban life that was part of Oates' Wonderland Quartet series; and her 26th novel, We Were the Mulvaneys (1996), the story of an unraveling family.  Her novels The Falls (2004) and The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2007) were on The New York Times bestseller list, while 2012's Patricide was published as an e-book novella. Oates has also written suspense novels under the pseudonyms Rosamond Smith and Lauren Kelly.

She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1978. Oates has won scores of awards over the course of her career, including the Prix Femina Etranger and the Pushcart Prize. In 2008, her husband Smith died unexpectedly of pneumonia-related complications and Oates detailed the depths of her grief in the memoir A Widow’s Story. She remarried in 2009 to Charles Gross.

In early 2013, she published the novels Daddy Love, which recounts the horrifying experience of a boy who's kidnapped, and The Accursed, a gothic, surreal tale that looks at Woodrow Wilson's time as the president of Princeton University and the violent prejudice faced by the African-American community.

Rachel Robinson 

Rachel Robinson is known for being an activist, professor, nurse, business leader, wife, mother and grandmother.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California and went on to earn a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from New York University. She worked as a researcher and clinician at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Department of Social and Community Psychiatry, which she held for five years. She then became director of nursing for the Connecticut Mental Health Center and an assistant professor of nursing at Yale University.

Both of the Robinsons were active throughout the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. They hosted the first annual Afternoon of Jazz, a concert at their home to raise bail money for student protestors, a tradition which was continued until 2002.

After losing her husband and her son (Jackie Jr.), Robinson memorialized their lives by founding the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides educational and leadership opportunity for minorities, in 1973. She also served as president of the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation for ten years, which was a real estate development company that specialized in low to moderate-income housing.

Recognizing the efforts of her husband is something that Robinson is very well known for.  She authored Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait in 1996, and she also participated in events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s integration of major league baseball in 1997. In 2005, Robinson accepted the Congressional Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush on behalf of her late husband.

Over the years, Robinson has earned many awards, including 12 honorary doctorates - the Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Equitable Life Black Achiever's Award and the Associated Black Charities Black History Maker’s Award.

Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang

Sung-Mo Kang has served as a leader in higher education and public service for nearly two decades. He received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1970, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He was inducted into FDU’s Pinnacle Society in 2013 and is once again being honored for his continued excellence in higher education leadership.

Kang is currently the 15th president of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, a mantle he assumed in February 2013. Previously, he served as the chancellor of the University of California, Merced, as the dean of Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz and as department head of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

At UC Santa Cruz, Kang laid a strong foundation for interdisciplinary programs and helped establish a University Affiliated Research Center with the NASA Ames Research Center. The program he created includes a sponsorship of three hundred million dollars over the course of ten years. During this period, Kang also served as president of the Silicon Valley Engineering Council and strengthened the UCSC research collaborations with high tech companies.

Kang has published over 450 papers in journals and premier conferences and has 16 U.S. patents.  He was elected to be a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Korea Academy of Science and Technology, and a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering. Kang is also a member of the California Council on Science and Technology. He has mentored over sixty Ph.D. students. 

Kang has received the IEEE Millennium Medal, IEEE CAS Mac Van Valkenburg Society Award, IEEE CAS Society Technical Excellence Award, SRC Technical Excellence Award, ISQED Quality Award, Alexander von Humboldt Award for US Senior Scientists, IEEE Sydney Darlington Best Journal Paper Award, KBS Award, Korean-American Leadership Award, Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award, KAST Deok-Myeong Engineering Award, and distinguished alumni awards from Yonsei University, UC Berkeley. He was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.

Student Pinnacle Winners

The 2014 Student Pinnacle Awards will be presented to Megan Fry of Westmont, N.J., representing the Metropolitan Campus; Marah Geltzer of Allentown, N.J., representing the Florham Campus and Rumbidzai “Rumbi” Kabatebate of Zimbabwe, representing the Vancouver Campus.

The Student Pinnacle Award is the highest honor the University bestows on a graduating student. One student from each campus who has demonstrated academic excellence, public service and commitment to the University is honored. Winners will address their fellow graduates and the assembled audience.

Megan Fry
Westmont, NJ
Metropolitan Campus

Megan Fry, of Westmont, N.J.. will graduate with a bachelor of arts in English language and literature.  Fry was fortunate to be the recipient of FDU’s Presidential Scholarship for the course of her studies at FDU. As a student, Fry has taken advantage of opportunities to excel both in the classroom and out. She was a Global Scholar and honors student, studied abroad in Wroxton, served as editor-in-chief of The Equinox, the student newspaper of the Metropolitan Campus, as well working campus as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions and as a senior programming assistant for Freshman Orientation for the Dean of Students Office.  Fry served as president of the theater club and as part of the University Players she performed in five main-stage productions.

Marah Geltzer
Cream Ridge, NJ
Florham Campus

Marah Geltzer, of Cream Ridge, N.J., will graduate with a bachelor of science in business management. She was a Business Scholar and honors student in the Junior, Senior and National Business Honor Societies. She has excelled in several different internships off campus with major companies such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mars Inc. She has gained experience as a management trainee, talent acquisition specialist and in client development. On campus, she has held leadership positions in several of the Silberman College of Business-based organizations. She served as the manager of social media for the Internship Development Program, a Student Ambassador for the Professional Development Program and the founder and president of the Management Leaders of Tomorrow.

Rumbidzai Kabatebate
Vancouver Campus

Originally from Zimbabwe, Rumbidzai Kabatebate graduated from FDU’s Vancouver Campus with a bachelor of science in business administration. The first in her family to pursue a college degree, Kabatebate was drawn to FDU by the Global Scholars Program, which provided a generous scholarship. Driven by a dream to work for the United Nations after graduation, Kabatebate founded the Vancouver Campus Model U.N. Club in 2011 and led delegations to Model U.N. conferences in 2012 and 2013. Kabatebate was also involved on campus in other areas, serving as president of the Student Government Association, chair of community service of the Rotaract Club of Yaletown; and she was a member of the Vancouver Campus club soccer team, dragon boat team, long-boat team; and an orientation leader for all of her four undergraduate years. 

About Fairleigh Dickinson University

Devoted to the preparation of world citizens through global education, Fairleigh Dickinson is New Jersey's largest private university and features more than 100 liberal arts and professional degree programs, two international campuses, dozens of partnerships with internationally renowned institutions and special programs and status within the United Nations. For more information, go to http://www.fdu.edu.

For Immediate Release

FDU Office of Public Relations

   (Metropolitan Campus Office)
Dickinson Hall, Room 3365, H-DH3-13, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Dina Schipper,
Director of Public Relations
Fax: 201-692-7019

Kenna Caprio,
Communications Writer
Fax: 201-692-7019

Helen Grill,
Senior General Clerk
Fax: 201-692-7019

FDU Office of Public Relations

   (College at Florham Office)
Public Relations Building, M-PR1-01, Madison, NJ 08450

Scott Giglio,
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Fax: 973-443-8671

Daniel Landau,
Public Relations Assistant
Fax: 973-443-8671