Menendez, Ruiz receive honorary NJCU degrees at double commencement ceremony


U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and state Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-29) both received honorary New Jersey City University degrees at their double commencement ceremony yesterday.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and NJ Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-29). Photos courtesy of New Jersey City University.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

NJCU awarded 1,876 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in a double ceremony during its 2022 Commencement exercises at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The first ceremony began at 11 a.m. and included graduates from the School of Business and the College of Professional Studies, while the second ceremony commenced at 3 p.m. and included graduates from the William J. Maxwell College of Arts and Sciences and Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education.

“There is hate brimming all around us. It is up to us to say yes. Yes to faith, yes to hope, yes to being the first, yes to being included. And saying yes today for me is not about me, but about the women who came before me, who didn’t speak English, who raised their families but were looked on as second class citizens, who were treated less than, who were told that they couldn’t and they shouldn’t. Today I say yes for them,” Ruiz said in her remarks.

“And today I say yes for all of you, and my daughters who are still unborn. Because we know that in New Jersey, and in this country, and at New Jersey City University, and at the Prudential Center in Newark, we say yes to love, we say yes to inclusion, we say yes to being one, we say yes to the graduating class of 2022!”

Menendez also expressed his confidence in the future of NJCU’s graduating class.

“You’re graduating from an institution whose motto is Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve. The road ahead is winding, it’s going to have its twists and turns that prevent us from seeing around every bend, but standing up here and looking at all of you, I have never felt more confident that the road will rise up to meet you,” he stated.

“I have never felt so sure in our capacity to repair our faults, to confront our challenges head on, and be the change we wish to see. Why? Because of you.”

NJCU President Sue Henderson presided over the ceremony, while Carlos Lejnieks, a member of the university’s board of trustees and the President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties, conveyed greetings from the trustees.

NJCU also honored representatives of its milestone 50th anniversary class of 1972 and 25th anniversary class of 1997.

The ceremonies celebrated students receiving their degrees in January 2022, May 2022, and August 2022. A recording of the ceremony may be viewed here.

A total of 1,204 graduates participated in the ceremony — 901 undergraduates, 278 graduate, and 25 doctoral recipients.

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