Rutgers News

PayPal CEO says Rutgers grads need to "Help Repair the World"

6e9d003c04d330630170_GraduatesHIRES.jpg
Rain-soaked, but happy, RU graduates. Credits: Rutgers University
8f0626fc82ba6c62a346_pastedImage.jpg
Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, called on the Class of 2018 on Sunday to take a stand for social justice. Credits: Rutgers University
6e9d003c04d330630170_GraduatesHIRES.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, called on the Class of 2018 on Sunday to take a stand for social justice as they graduate during a time of unprecedented technological and social change.

He talked about the decision at PayPal to rescind plans to build a global operations center in North Carolina following legislation many considered discriminatory against the LGBTQ community. The bill, signed in 2016 by the North Carolina governor, required transgender people to use public restrooms that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate – rather than their gender identity.

“Discrimination of any kind hurts all of us – and is a threat to our very democracy,’’ Schulman told the crowd of about 32,500 at High Point Solutions Stadium during a ceremony for students graduating from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Sign Up for E-News

It wasn’t an easy decision. Schulman received death threats for the first time in his life. But others, including the NCAA, NBA and New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen joined in the boycott and the law was eventually repealed.

“The ultimate point here is that whether you are a business person, a scholar, an artist, an activist or a doctor, we have to be guided by values of inclusion and freedom,’’ said Schulman, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony. “These are not political decisions, these are values-based decisions.’’

Schulman joked about his selection as speaker two years after President Obama addressed Rutgers’ 250th anniversary commencement.

“Let’s face it, Rutgers should have probably ended all commencement speakers after that,’’ Schulman said. “That’s a high bar for any mortal to jump over.’’ 

He also talked about his deep ties to Rutgers. His son, Jake, is a member of the graduating class and his mother, Ruth, was the associate dean of Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology for 25 years. His brother Joel and sister Amy also went to Rutgers.

Schulman took a moment to let his son know how proud the family was of his accomplishment. “I love you so much,” he said, but injected some levity when he added, “I know this is the most embarrassing moment of your life.’’

He offered another candid moment when he confessed to the Class of 2018 that he never got to walk in their shoes as a Rutgers graduate because he had been rejected when he applied. Schulman worked as a truck driver before eventually getting accepted to Middlebury College for the spring semester. He now leads one of the largest technology companies in the world and was recognized in 2017 for his efforts to fight for civil rights as the recipient of the Brennan Legacy Award, established to honor the Supreme Court justice and his career-long commitment to social justice.

“Don’t underestimate your power to make a difference,’’ Schulman said. “Every one of you can help repair the world.  Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t sell the world short. We need you.’’

Social justice served as a theme throughout the ceremony. Rutgers president Robert Barchi mentioned the progress students have seen throughout their lives, while acknowledging they live in a time of contradiction.

 

“You have seen our nation’s first African-American president, secretary of state and attorney general,’’ Barchi said. “You have seen universities like ours acknowledge and honor the enslaved people who contributed to our early history. That's progress. But you have also witnessed the killings of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, the murders in a Charleston church and the hate-filled white supremacists march in Charlottesville [Virginia].

“You know better than anyone else how much work remains to be done to fulfill the promise of equality in America,’’ Barchi said. "We need your hearts and your minds to lead us to a better place.’’

Schulman’s and Barchi’s messages resonated with students.

“I thought it was uplifting in terms of talking about society and the fact that we have an obligation to make sure things are okay morally and ethically. That is something that our generation can do,’’ said Humza Farrukh of Edison, who graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences with a degree in cell biology and neuroscience.

Farrukh was also impressed by Barchi’s references to the Black Lives Matter movement and the university’s ties to slavery, which were documented through the Scarlet and Black project.

“It was amazing to hear him acknowledge that slavery was part of Rutgers history at an event that is so big in front of so many people,’’ he said.

Barchi mentioned that the university is celebrating 100 years of women at Rutgers with the centennial of Douglass Residential College. He presented an honorary Doctor of Science to Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, equitable health care advocate and president emerita and former CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

An estimated 18,132 graduates will receive degrees from Rutgers this year. These include approximately 11,670 baccalaureate degrees; 4,541 master’s degrees; 1,919 doctorates, including professional doctorates; one specialist of education degree and one artistic diploma. Since its founding in 1766, Rutgers has awarded 580,862 academic degrees (excluding the 2018 estimated total).

Graduation ceremonies will continue throughout the week. On Monday, Queen Latifah will deliver the keynote address during the Rutgers University-Newark commencement. The award-winning actress, singer/songwriter, entrepreneur and humanitarian also will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Anita Hill, a national figure in the fight against sexual harassment and advocate for equal opportunities for women in STEM and other fields, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws from Rutgers University-Camden during the Rutgers Law School commencement ceremony on Thursday. She also will deliver the keynote address for the Class of 2018 at that ceremony.

During Sunday’s commencement, graduates were getting used to idea of no longer being in school but were excited to be moving on to the next phase of their lives.

“This is surreal,’’ said Alyssa Kahn of Howell, who graduated from the School of Communication and Information. “It’s weird to be thinking I won’t have to do homework, I won’t have to buy textbooks anymore. I didn’t have to register for classes.’’

Despite the cold, wet day, it was still a day filled with joy for the graduates.

“The weather just adds a little character, said Mike Allen, who is graduating with a degree in computer science from the School of Arts and Sciences. “It’s something we will never forget.’’

Amber Rouse, a member of the Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club, had some special company during the ceremony: Andy, an 11-month old German shepherd.

“He has been with me since the fall semester,’’ said Rouse, from Williamstown in Gloucester County, who graduated with a degree in biology. “He is basically a college student himself.’’

Having the companionship on the field made the day even more special.

“This is the greatest thing I have ever done,’’ she said, “including him.’’

__________

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Edison Public Library Donation Drive for Edison Animal Shelter

June 6, 2018

The Edison Township Free Public Library is partnering with the Edison Animal Shelter to do a donation drive for the Edison Animal Shelter. There is a checklist of all items that are being accepted at the animal shelter. These checklists can be found above and the donation bins will be available at all three branches. We will be collecting items until the end of June. For more ...

Father's Day Fire Hits Helmetta Home

June 17, 2018

HELMETTA, NJ - A Sunday morning fire disrupted the quiet calm of a sunny weekend morning today. Fire broke out at a Main Street home in the borough at around 10:30 a.m. on June 17, destroying the garage and pool house. The blaze also forced road closures in the area as firefighters worked to contain the fire.

Firefighters from the Helmetta Volunteer Fire Department as well as firefighters from ...

Obituaries

Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more
Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more

MCRO Chairwoman Panos Celebrates Re-Election, Promises Party Unity to Defeat Menendez

June 15, 2018

FORDS, NJ-  Middlesex County Republican Organization (MCRO) Chairwoman Lucille Panos of Old Bridge was re-elected to a second two-year term as that organization's chairwoman.  Also re-elected were Edison chairwoman Sylvia Engel as vice-chair, and South Brunswick chairwoman Antonia Kulberda as secretary.  Rounding out the victors was Harold Kane of Monroe, ...

Promise Culinary School Slates Open Houses June 21 and 22 in New Brunswick with Tours, Tastings, Prizes

Promise Culinary School will host open houses for the community and prospective students on Thursday, June 21, from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m. at 211 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. The events are free and open to the public.

The events will include kitchen tours, demonstrations, tastings, raffles and prizes. Tours and activities will be ...

Rutgers-Camden students who saved man from fire honored by City of Camden

Camden, NJ—The Rutgers-Camden students who saved an elderly man from a March fire at his Cooper Street home were honored by the City of Camden Tuesday night.

Mayor Frank Moran awarded proclamations to Corey Zytko, Jonathan Perez-Gaytan, Matteo Resanovic, Vanessa Solis Palma, Sehwan Park and Tammy Meneses on Tuesday, June 12.

On the night of March 23, the students were hanging out in ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8f0a915f696bb2ae1366_community_shred

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Quibbletown Park, Piscataway

Piscataway Township Paper Shredding Event

Government Green

Wed, July 11, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Three to Feature Fauré ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, July 15, 10:00 AM

NJ Transit Parking Lot, Bound Brook

World Cup Final Game Viewing

Arts & Entertainment Sports

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Prosecutor's Office Still Reviewing Footage from Incident at Bridgewater Commons Mall, Cannot Confirm Shots Fired

June 16, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office was still reviewing surveillance footage regarding the fight that broke out at the Bridgewater Commons Mall Thursday evening.

According to Det. Jeanne Trillhaase, with the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, they cannot confirm that shots were fired in the mall, as they are still investigating ...

A Date with Destiny

Leslie. . . it would be the bomb . . .  if we could go to prom . . . together.

 

For the record, Leslie is my wife, and this is my openly public attempt at a promposal.  

 

My twin high school seniors taught me about promposals, those cute, showy, and sometimes over-the-top ways of asking someone special to prom.  This year they have been on both the ...