NCAS/UCN Honors Graduates at 2013 Commencement Ceremony


NCAS/UCN held its 2013 Graduation Ceremony at NJPAC on Wednesday, May 22, as part of Rutgers University's 247th Anniversary Commencement.
The showers meteorologists called for never materialized, making for a beautiful procession from the Rutgers-Newark campus, through downtown, to NJPAC, where the ceremony was held amid a packed house of graduates, faculty, dignitaries, family and friends.
A total of 489 degrees were conferred to NCAS/UCN students this year. Acting Dean Jan Lewis congratulated the graduates as Rutgers-Newark Interim Chancellor Philip Yeagle and keynote speaker Dr. Lonnie Bunch III looked on from the stage along with deans and faculty.
Interim Chancellor Yeagle congratulated the graduates on their magnificent achievement, which he put into context: These NCAS/UCN grads are among the 2,999 students graduating from Rutgers-Newark this year, and among the 14,000 graduating from the university as a whole. Among this year’s NCAS/UCN crop, 66 are armed-services veterans, some of whom will be deploying after receiving their degree.
He added that this is the 104th year that NCAS is holding graduation, and the 79th year for UCN.
Emphasizing the campus’ mission diversity and excellence, Yeagle said, “We’ve always strived to ensure that quality and equality go hand in hand at Rutgers-Newark,” which has been touted by U.S. News and World Report as the most diverse campus in the nation eight years’ running. 
The commencement keynote speaker was Dr. Lonnie Bunch III, a well-known scholar of African American history who grew up in Bellville, NJ. Bunch received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from American University in Washington, DC, and is the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where he oversees the museum’s design, fundraising, and collections development, as well as the creation of traveling exhibitions and public events.
Bunch emphasized the importance of relationships, drawing a link between the support of family, faculty and friends and thinking beyond oneself to create a better world once the graduates leave Rutgers-Newark.
“My paternal grandparents were sharecroppers on a plantation near Raleigh, NC. Yet something inside them believed their hands were destined for learning, and they remade themselves, leaving my daughter as the fourth generation in our family to attend college,” said Bunch.
“The power of an individual to affect change—on the family level and in society—is great,” he continued. “So, I urge you to think beyond yourself as college-educated adults and fight the good fight for some greater good. Leave America a better place than how you found it.”