Other NJ News

E Street Band Rocker Stevie Van Zandt to Give RU Grad Speech

04870f2d4f01fbf6669f_1280px-Little_Steven_Van_Zandt_and_Bruce_Springsteen.jpg
"Little Steven" Van Zandt (right) rocks out with Bruce Springsteen. Van Zandt will deliver Rutgers New Brunswick's 2017 commencement speech.
04870f2d4f01fbf6669f_1280px-Little_Steven_Van_Zandt_and_Bruce_Springsteen.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – He might not be a sitting president, but this year’s Rutgers New Brunswick commencement speaker is something of rock ’n’ roll royalty.

Stevie Van Zandt, who plays guitar in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and starred in the hit HBO show “The Sopranos,” has been tapped to talk at the university’s 2017 graduation ceremony.

The Board of Governors this afternoon approved Van Zandt’s role in the event, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 14 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway.

Sign Up for E-News

“We’re delighted to recommend that he be the graduation speaker and receive an honorary doctorate in fine arts,” Richard Edward, Rutgers New Brunswick’s chancellor, said during the board meeting.

Much like a headlining band, Van Zandt’s name was not announced until the meeting approached its end. Some board members appeared to smile upon hearing the news that a legendary New Jersey rocker would address graduating students, their families and faculty.

Van Zandt grew up in Middletown, a sprawling suburb in Monmouth County. He spent many of his younger years shredding his guitar across the thriving Jersey Shore music scene of the 1970s.

The musician played an “influential” role in a number of Springsteen’s early bands, Edward noted, including the iconic E Street Band. Indeed, Van Zandt co-produced a number of the group’s albums, such as the anthem-heavy “Born in the U.S.A.” and “The River.”

He also helped Southside Johnny form the Asbury Jukes, writing tunes for the band, which has since provided the soundtrack for many New Jersey summers.

In 1999, with no acting experience, Van Zandt signed on to play the tough guy Silvio Dante in the budding mobster TV series “The Sopranos.”

Through his six seasons on the anti-hero drama, Van Zandt played a character far removed from his life. Silvio, wearing fancy Italian suits and slicked-back hair, had no problem beating the life out of foes in his pursuit of money and respect.

Van Zandt, on the other hand, had become known for wearing loopy, colorful bandanas and championing more liberal causes.

He has raised money and awareness for the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, the rights of indigenous groups, struggling music venues like Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre and, through his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, music education, Edward said.

Van Zandt, also known as “Little Steven,” is also the creator and producer of the radio shows “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and “Outlaw Country,” according to Rutgers.

Rutgers students, faculty and staff members selected Van Zandt to headline the commencement ceremony after a yearlong process.

Last year, then-President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the university’s flagship campus. After 250 years, he was the first sitting president to speak at a Rutgers commencement.

The Board of Governors also agreed to award Harvey J. Makadon, a physician who has fought the AIDS crisis since the 1980s and rallied for LGBT rights, an honorary doctor of science degree.

Rutgers Camden will host Carla D. Hayden as its commencement speaker on May 17 at the BB&T Pavilion. Hayden is the first woman and the first African-American to serve as the country’s Librarian of Congress.

In addition to her academic and professional accomplishments, Hayden built her reputation as a defender of civil liberties and equal access to information partially through her outspokenness against the U.S. Patriot Act.

“She is the ideal role model for our students,” Rutgers Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon told the board.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Edison

Rutgers Takes Over New Brunswick Police Dispatch Service

June 21, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University will provide the city’s police dispatching services in a move that New Brunswick says will cut costs and put an end to dispatcher shortages that resulted in officers doing the job.

The city’s 12 current dispatchers will be laid off at the end of the day on June 30, and Rutgers will supply dispatchers as of July 1 under an agreement that city ...

Applications to Rutgers Jump Nearly 10 Percent; Increase from Out-of-State Students

June 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Applications to Rutgers University this year increased 9.4 percent over last year, university President Robert Barchi told the Board of Governors at a meeting this week.

The university received nearly 45,000 applications this year, Barchi said.

That included a 20 percent increase in the number of students from out-side New Jersey applying to Rutgers, the university ...

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019 and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 21, 2018

Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that it will award a total of 13 grants to 11 local community non-profit organizations in its nine-county service area for 2018-2019, with an increase in total program funding at 15% year over year. Since its founding in 1997, Komen North Jersey has awarded nearly $19 million to local community programs in nine North Jersey counties and has directed more than ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

Small Business Ownership vs. Entrepreneurship

Written by: Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column, Published on 6/18/2018

Tags: Business, Community, Crowdfunding, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Small Business

Source: So, which are you – a Small Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? We compare the similarities and differences between the two, so you can ...