May 18, 2014 at 11:40 PM
CALDWELL, NJ - On Sunday, 463 Caldwell College students were awarded undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from Caldwell University, making history as they became the inaugural class of the soon to be university.
Credit: Colette Liddy
The day was one of “great joy and pride for the faculty, staff and administration of Caldwell, as we send forth our 72nd class of graduates to make a positive impact on our world," commented Caldwell College President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D. "As you complete your studies at our fine Catholic and Dominican liberal arts institution, I encourage you to stay connected to your alma mater. Return often to this place that has been your home for the past years and carry with you our core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence.”
Honoree Walter Dean Myers
An honorary degree was presented to Walter Dean Myers, a critically acclaimed author of literature for young people. Myers is the New York Times best-selling author of “Monster,” the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award, the 2012-13 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and the inaugural New York City Literary Honoree. He has more than 110 books to his credit, has received almost every major award in the field of children’s literature and is considered one of the preeminent writers for young people.
“Find what you like to do and do it. It doesn’t have to be full time," expressed Myers. The author said that all he had ever wanted to do was write. Myers encouraged the students to love themselves, to love their parents and to not be too busy to make room in their hearts for those who mean the most to them. “Life is nothing more than that. Loving yourself and loving the world around you," he said.
Myers said that he has kept what he loves close to his heart and existence and he told the graduates that they should do the same in their lives: "Keep the people you love close to you and don’t let them get away."
New York Times best-selling author Walter Dean Myers and Caldwell College President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D.
Credit: Colette Liddy
Graduate Speaker Steven Gallagher
Fairfield's Steven Gallagher received his master’s in Education Administration on Sunday and delivered the commencement speech to the graduate students. Gallagher, who was a police officer in North Caldwell for over 26 years before becoming an educator, asked the graduates to reflect on the college’s core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence. Saying that he had “great respect for the badge” he wore as a police officer, Gallagher encouraged the students to consider what Caldwell had given them: “a badge of integrity…this badge provides us with support to make choices. At times these choices will be uncomfortable. Make the right choice,” he said.
Steven Gallagher of Fairfield Credit: Colette Liddy
Undergraduate Speaker David Reeth
David Reeth, of Highland Lakes, gave the undergraduate commencement remarks. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has been president of Caldwell’s Student Government Association for the past two years. Reeth has received a number of honors including the 2014 Caldwell Trustee Recognition Award from the Caldwell College Board of Trustees, the campus Excellence in Leadership Award and the 2012 New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year award.
“Whatever our major may have been, now our major is life,” Reeth said, “we must pursue opportunity with vigor: without fear, without uncertainty, without doubt.”
David Reeth, of Highland Lakes Credit: Colette Liddy
Dr. Blattner presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.’s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Science or Master of Business Administration degrees, and undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.
Credit: Colette Liddy
The grand marshal was Janet E. Stewart, Ph.D., professor of education. Honored alumni from the 50th anniversary class of 1964 were recognized.
Caldwell College was granted university status by the New Jersey Office of Higher Education in December 2013. The college will officially operate as Caldwell University beginning July 1.
Caldwell College is a private, Catholic coed four-year college with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Its 25 undergraduate programs, 28 graduate programs and one Ph.D. program, including online and distance learning options, prepare students for today's global marketplace. Students enjoy 12 NCAA Division II athletic teams and numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities and activities on a beautiful 70-acre campus located in the suburbs of Caldwell, N.J. The college was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. The college’s core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life.