NEWARK, NJ — Radio personality Angie Martinez was chosen for this year’s Rutgers-Newark commencement speaker, the university’s Board of Governors announced on Tuesday, which added that Martinez will also receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts.
Martinez, who has established herself as one of the most influential voices in media over 25 years, is known as much for her philanthropy as she is for her hip-hop chops. Having interviewed figures ranging from Tupac Shakur and JAY-Z to Barack Obama, Martinez is the 2018 recipient of the Marconi Award for Major Market Personality of the Year for her contributions in media.
Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said that Martinez has touched students at the university and in Newark Public Schools by filming and releasing the documentary “Be the Light” about their collaborative post--Hurricane Maria recovery project in Puerto Rico. The documentary, which is available on the streaming platform TIDAL, includes an option for viewers to donate to the project.
“We are particularly moved by the way that Martinez has resonated with the work that Rutgers-Newark students have been doing collaboratively with Newark Public Schools students to aid recovery efforts in post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico,” Cantor said.
A joint experiential learning initiative saw Malcolm X Shabazz High School students build solar energy kits, which Rutgers-Newark students in the university’s International Leadership Exchange Global Scholars program installed and assembled on the rooftops of buildings in Puerto Rico during their spring break.
“Ms. Martinez knows our students, loves our students, and inspires—and is inspired by—our students. She is an ideal commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient from Rutgers-Newark,” Cantor said.