Fairleigh Dickinson University Holds 69th Commencement on May 15

More than 2600 Students from 50 Countries to Receive Degrees

Teaneck, NJ (May 1, 2012) — On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ will be the site for the 69th Commencement ceremony of Fairleigh Dickinson University. Approximately 2600 students will receive doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees.

Class Facts: FDU’s Class of 2012 represents 50 countries including the United States, 26 states plus the District of Columbia and all 21 counties in New Jersey.

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: Morrine Omolo from the Metropolitan campus in Teaneck, Jessica Dingman from the College at Florham campus and Juliana Fiorentino from FDU-Vancouver.

During the ceremony, the University will confer honorary doctor of humane letters degrees on Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times; The Hon. Cory Booker, mayor of Newark; and Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf, FDU alum and real estate developer, attorney and owner of the Minnesota Vikings. Mayor Booker will also serve as the Commencement Speaker.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Jill Abramson is executive editor of The New York Times, a position she assumed in September 2011. Ms. Abramson serves in the highest-ranking position in The New York Time’s newsroom and oversees The New York Times news report in all its various forms. Prior to being named executive editor, Ms. Abramson was managing editor of The Times from August 2003 until August 2011.  As managing editor, she helped guide the newsroom through a particularly turbulent period.  She helped supervise the coverage of two wars, four national elections, hurricanes and oil spills.  She was also deeply engaged in the newsroom’s effort to change its approach to the dissemination of news and to expand to new and varied digital and mobile platforms.

Ms. Abramson joined The New York Times in 1997. She was named Washington bureau chief in December 2000 and served in that position until July 2003. Prior to joining The Times, Ms. Abramson worked at The Wall Street Journal from 1988 to 1997. While there, she served as deputy bureau chief in its Washington, D.C., bureau and investigative reporter, covering money and politics.

Ms. Abramson is co-author of “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,” a non-fiction finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award in 1994, and “Where They Are Now: The Story of the Women of Harvard Law 1974,” published in 1986.  She is also the author of “The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout,” published in 2011.

Ms. Abramson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has taught writing at Princeton and Yale Universities.

Cory Booker is the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He took the oath of office as Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city on July 1, 2006 following a sweeping electoral victory and was re-elected to a second term on May 11, 2010.

Elected with a clear mandate for change, Mayor Booker has begun work on realizing a bold vision for the city. Mayor Booker and his Administration have made meaningful strides towards achieving the City’s vision.  On April 1, 2010, the City of Newark experienced its first homicide-free month in more than forty years and was recognized in July 2008 for leading the nation among large cities for reductions in shootings and murders, achieving decreases of more than 40% reductions in both categories. Radical transformation of the Newark Police Department under Mayor Booker’s leadership, together with the deployment of over 100 surveillance cameras throughout City, has led to Newark setting the nationwide pace for crime reduction.

Among other recent notable achievements under Mayor Booker’s leadership, the City of Newark has committed to a $40 million transformation of the City’s parks and playgrounds through a groundbreaking public/private partnership. The Booker Administration has also doubled affordable housing production.

Mayor Booker’s political career began in 1998, after serving as Staff Attorney for the Urban Justice Center in Newark. He rose to prominence as Newark’s Central Ward Councilman. During his four years of service from 1998-2002, then-Councilman Booker earned a reputation as a leader with innovative ideas and bold actions, from increasing security in public housing to building new playgrounds. This work was the foundation for his leadership as Mayor.  For this work, he has been recognized in numerous publications, including, among others, Time, Esquire, New Jersey Monthly (naming him as one of New Jersey’s top 40 under 40), Black Enterprise (naming him to the Hot List, America’s Most Powerful Players under 40) and The New York Times Magazine.

Reflecting his commitment to education, Mayor Booker is a member of numerous boards and advisory committees including Democrats for Education Reform, Columbia University Teachers’ College Board of Trustees and the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Mayor Booker received his B. A. and M. A. from Stanford University, a B. A. in Modern History at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and completed his law degree at Yale University.

Zygi Wilf is a real estate developer, attorney and owner of the Minnesota Vikings Football Club. Wilf is the president of Garden Homes, one of the largest real estate development firms in the United States and partner at the Wilf Law Firm, with offices in Short Hills, N.J. and Manhattan.

Wilf serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including Yeshiva University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The son of Holocaust survivors, Wilf actively supports numerous philanthropic causes through the Wilf Family Foundations.

Wilf has a bachelor’s degree in economics from FDU’s College at Florham (1971) and a law degree from New York Law School, New York, N.Y. (1974).

Zygi and his wife, Audrey, have four children.

Student Pinnacle Winners

The 2012 Student Pinnacle Awards will be presented to Morrine Omolo of Kikuyu, Kenya, representing the Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck, N.J.; Jessica Dingman of Roxbury, N.J., representing the College at Florham in Madison, N.J. and Juliana Fiorentino of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, representing FDU-Vancouver.

The 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.

Morrine Omolo (Metropolitan Campus – Teaneck, NJ)

Morrine Omolo, an international student from Kenya, left her family and country to study biochemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“Whether you’re in Kenya or America, it’s the hard work that counts,” she says. And worked hard she has. First at securing a scholarship from Zawadi Africa, an NGO (non-governmental office) that sponsors African women so that they can study in the United States, and then every moment since she arrived on FDU’s campus. Since she arrived, Omolo has worked in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, for University College’s Dean Patti Mills, volunteered at a nearby hospital in the oncology wing, interned with Metropolitan Neurosurgeons at Englewood Hospital and FDU’s Office of Global Learning, mentored a sophomore student and joined the pre-health professional’s club on campus.

Her most notable contribution on campus, however, may be her commitment to the Student Government Association and her position as the ASC-US senator. In that role, Omolo coordinated with students and Gourmet Dining representatives to change the meal plan and to improve the relationship between students and other auxiliary service providers.

Omolo’s post-graduation plans are to work for a year to make enough money to go home and visit her family, whom she has not seen since her studies in America began. Then she has plans to attend graduate school here in the United States.

Jessica Dingman (College at Florham)

Jessica Dingman, of Roxbury, N.J., is the first generation in her family to attend college, and her achievements do not stop there—she is a biology major currently obtaining her master’s degree in FDU’s Quest Program with a 3.96 grade-point average.

Dingman has been the face of the academic support center in which she tutors several science courses. She has also run review sessions for both the Chemistry Club in organic chemistry, and for Tri-Beta, the biology honors society of which she is a member of.

Dingman is also a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma where she has previously held the positions of recording and correspondence secretary and scholarship chair, which monitors the sisters’ academics and provides tutoring where necessary. With her sorority she volunteers in charities such as: Relay for Life, various breast cancer walks, and the local food pantry. For the future she wishes to teach middle school science.

Juliana Fiorentino (FDU-Vancouver)

Juliana Fiorentino of Belo Horizonte, Brazil started her scholastic journey by receiving a degree in Psychology from the Pontifical Catholic University in Brazil, before furthering her education by attending FDU-Vancouver starting in 2009 to obtain a B.A. in individualized studies with a concentration in business.

Fiorentino has played an active role within the campus by becoming a President of the Students Association, a supportive orientation leader and a devoted member of the Sustainability Committee, for which she assisted other students and staff to develop strategies that create a sustainable campus environment.

Fiorentino is an exceptional student, eager to learn and dedicated to any goal she sets her mind to. Her commitment was clearly seen in her outstanding academic performance, having earned one of the highest grade point ratios of her graduating class and had her name on the Honor’s list in every semester.

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 www.fdu.edu

For Immediate Release

FDU Office of Public Relations

   (Metropolitan Campus Office)
Dickinson Hall, Room 3365, H-DH3-1, 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)
East Cottage, Second Floor, M-EC2-01, Madison, NJ 08450

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

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