Rowan administration announced that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be the keynote speaker for the May 16 undergraduate commencement ceremony.
The news, confirmed at the April 9 Board of Trustees meeting at the Stratford campus, also included that Christie — as well as State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and State Senator Donald Norcross — will be presented an honorary degree from the university.
“For decades, state leaders have proposed changes to improve New Jersey’s higher education system, but it took the foresight and perseverance of these three to make a profound difference in higher education, health care and the economy of our state,” Chair of the BOT Linda Rohrer said in a press release. “Together, they have created a legacy that will benefit generations of New Jersey residents.”
The press release also credited the three politicians’ involvement in the Restructuring Act, which designated Rowan as a research facility in 2013 and has helped create more funding opportunities for its research-based work.
“I’m not certain that people realize the significance of what these three men have done,” Rowan President Dr. Ali Houshmand said in the press release. “Their vision for higher education has created an economic engine that will drive our region for many years.”
Christie is returning to the campus eight months after speaking — along with Sweeney – at the groundbreaking ceremony for the College of Engineering’s planned additional building. A number of protestors had attended the event, speaking against the governor’s political stances.
Houshmand acknowledged the protests in a press conference shortly following the announcement of his return.
“This is a day of celebration — more than 2,500 students will be graduating — and we hope everyone realizes that,” Houshmand said. “We are here to celebrate their achievement and precautions will be taken.”
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