Education

250th Commencement Marks New ‘First’ for Rutgers University

05ebffae001862710a99_IMG_0381_cropped.jpg
President Barack Obama headlined 2016 commencement ceremony at Rutgers University Credits: Carl Patterson - TAP into Piscataway
f4b27c519692cfd976ea_IMG_7040_cropped.jpg
Zack Fischer, Class of 2016 Credits: Carl Patterson - TAP into Piscataway
2c36346053c4cf878b4c_Michael_Ganoot_cropped.jpg
Michael Ganoot, Class of 2016 Credits: Ken Simmons - TAP into Piscataway
d4a04f0c9a9c871959c6_Tom_Frusciano_cropped.jpg
Tom Frusciano, University Archivist Credits: Ken Simmons - TAP into Piscataway
05ebffae001862710a99_IMG_0381_cropped.jpg

PISCATAWAY, NJ – More than 12,000 graduates from twenty academic units filled the field at High Points Solutions Stadium on Sunday to not only participate in the 2016 commencement ceremony, but to witness U.S. President Barack Obama deliver remarks in honor of Rutgers University’s 250th Anniversary, marking the first time for a sitting president to give such an address at the country’s eighth oldest institute of high education.

President Robert Barchi welcomed the graduates acknowledging some for being the first to graduate with a degree in their family. He also listed some of the firsts made by this class in academics, sports, and charity fundraising.

"Don't forget your unique place being a part of the 250th class,” said Barchi. He was confident the graduates were given the confidence to ask the right questions as they move through life and challenged them “to make a difference with their lives.”

Sign Up for E-News

Tom Frusciano, the University Archivist described to TAPinto Piscataway the beginnings of the three year campaign to get President Obama to commit to speaking to a graduation class. One conversation centered on adding “wish-list” type events, programs, and projects to the usual types of commemorative activities to be scheduled during the anniversary year. “I have to give credit to Matt Weismantel, the senior director of the 250th celebration for the idea of trying to get the president to come to Rutgers,” he said.

Frusciano added, “The idea was then formulated into a letter from Rutgers’ President, Robert Barchi and hand delivered to Obama in Washington, D.C.”

 Over the next three years, Rutgers’ students, faculty, staff and alumni and other supporters worked to convince the sitting president to be the commencement speaker during the college’s anniversary year.

The campaign was successful.

Michael Ganoot, a Rutgers-Camden Law Graduate and a resident of Hawaii’s Oahu Island was the only Hawaiian graduate in the Class of 2016 and was proud to hear the President’s speech during the historic occasion.

“The president, being from Hawaii in general is fantastic,” said Ganoot who plans to study for the Hawaii law exam when he returns home. “He is the first one who actually represents our state. To be here at the Rutgers’ graduation is also great because it’s the 250th anniversary. It’s great to see him supporting the community, here to give a special touch to the commencement. “

Zack Fischer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and sings baritone with the Rutgers Glee Club.

TAPinto Piscataway asked him how he felt about having the opportunity to sing before the president. “I was so excited,” said the singer who has a goal of earning his PhD degree. “It was surreal; it was like a dream.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

NJ07 Student Activists to Hold Town Hall on Gun Control

April 24, 2018

In less than a week, student activists from New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District will be holding their Town Hall for Our Lives.

The town hall will take place in the meeting room of the Union Municipal Building from 7 to 9 p.m. Both Democratic and Republican candidates running for NJ07’s seat in the House of Representatives will be in attendance. At the event, they will ...

Paint by the Pond Event to be Held at Warinanco Park

ROSELLE/ELIZABETH, NJ - Children ages 4 to 12 years old are invited by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders to participate in the third annual Paint by the Pond. A project that teaches families about the importance of recycling while encouraging children to paint on cardboard, creating art from materials usually thrown away.

There will also be miniature houses made with the cardboard ...

Senior Center of the Chathams Holds Community Paper Shred Saturday, April 28

Tax time is the perfect chance to de-clutter and dispose of your unwanted paper and documents safely and securely at a spring Community Shred fundraiser to be held on Saturday, April 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Chatham Train Station parking lot in Chatham Borough.

All proceeds will benefit the Senior Center of the Chathams. The service is open to the public and participants do ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...