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

Bridgewater/Raritan

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, February 26

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Raritan Police: Warren Man Arrested for DWI and More in Police Blotter

February 17, 2018

RARITAN, NJ - A Warren man was arrested Feb. 1 for driving while intoxicated following a motor vehicle violation, according to a report from Raritan Borough Police.

Wayne Krause, 68, was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and speeding after being pulled over on Route 22 West.

Krause was processed and released pending a court appearance.

Police made other arrests for ...

Grape Expectations Hosts Wine Tastings

February 23, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Grape Expectations, recognized as the oldest “Make Your Own Wine” establishment in Somerset County, will host wine tastings the next two weekends for those curious about wines made from grapes harvested in South Africa and Chile in South America.

Tastings are scheduled Feb 24, from noon to 4 p.m.; March 2 from 5 p.n. to 9 p.m. and March 3 from noon to 4 ...

Somerset County Residents May Drive Through and Drop Off Unwanted Medicines March 17 in Basking Ridge

February 25, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – The first "Rx Mission Drive-in/Drop-Off"  will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17, at the Bernards Township Public Works Garage, 277 S. Maple Ave, Basking Ridge. This drop off will allow all Somerset County residents to safely dispose of unwanted or outdated prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

The Rx Mission Drive-in/Drop-Off is ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...