Education

Plainfield's Julio Olivo Speaks at Kean University Commencement

52d71766d0be005c8945_Senior_Class_President_Julio_Olivo_of_Plainfield.jpg
Senior Class President Julio Olivo of Plainfield speaks at Kean University's Undergraduate Commencement at Prudential Center on Thursday, May 18. Credits: Kean University
4abef5d1e8a16abcd3bc_Kal_Penn__Designated_Survivor_actor_and_former_Obama_administration_White_House_staffer.JPG
Kal Penn, Designated Survivor actor & former Obama administration White House staffer, gave Commencement Address at Kean U. Undergraduate Commencement at Prudential Center on Thursday, May 18. Credits: Kean University
88ed42be810e9c6bc55e_vcsPRAsset_3164792_63610_30d07a02-8a6b-441a-8b6d-b0de5a64ec2e_0.jpg
Kean University graduates recorded a greeting for their classmates at Wenzhou-Kean University, Kean’s China campus, to be played at their commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 3. Credits: Kean University
52d71766d0be005c8945_Senior_Class_President_Julio_Olivo_of_Plainfield.jpg

Union, N.J. – Kean University awarded 2,958 bachelor’s degrees on Thursday, May 18, at Newark’s Prudential Center. Actor, activist and educator Kal Penn, who portrays White House press secretary Seth Wright on the ABC television drama Designated Survivor, shared experiences from a life in film and politics with the graduates. Penn served as the Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration and peppered his address with political statements and behind-the-scenes insights into the Obama White House.

“In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated,” said Penn, quoting Obama before offering his own advice to the graduates.

“Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the struggle of all the things that are to come, and enjoy all the wonderful things that you are about to do, whether you get credit or not,” said Penn. “Reject cynicism. Talk to and work with people whom you might disagree with on a regular basis. And, maintain your sense of humor.”

Sign Up for E-News

Penn is a New Jersey native, and highlighted his enduring connection to his home state, likening being from New Jersey to an “ethnicity.” He urged graduates to “focus on the shared values that we have as Americans.”

The ceremony on Thursday also recognized Marcus Corey Ellis, an honor student tragically killed in a Plainfield shooting in August 2016, with a posthumous degree. Ellis, who was dedicated to helping others through leadership and volunteerism, had hoped to continue his career of service by teaching history. His youngest brother Christion accepted the Bachelor of Arts in History with Teacher Certification on his behalf.

“I feel very honored and excited that I’m able to continue my brother’s legacy, come to Kean University and accept this award on his behalf. I wish he was here to accept it himself,” said Christion, who plans to attend Kean in the fall.

Kean President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., advised graduates to cultivate the “4 Cs” –– confidence, commitment, courage and charity.

“Commit to something bigger than yourself,” said Farahi. “Get a dream. If you don’t have a dream, you can’t realize one.”

Kean’s Class of 2017 took time during the commencement ceremony to send a message of congratulations to their fellow graduates at Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU), Kean’s English-language campus in China, by holding aloft cards strategically placed on their chairs. A video of the greeting will be played at the WKU Commencement on Saturday, June 3.

Senior Class President Julio Olivo’s Kean journey began over 11 years ago with Project Adelante, a pre-college program that focuses on inspiring minority students to pursue a college degree. Olivo graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Business.

“Kean has given us a gift that many can only hope to obtain, a world-class education,” said Olivo. “We were fortunate to be taught by former CEOs, doctors and accomplished professionals who are at the peak of their careers.”

Olivo, who is a a Plainfield resident and native of Ecuador, concluded his speech by invoking famed lines from the Broadway musical Hamilton, “Let’s not throw away our shot…because immigrants get the job done!’”

Degrees were awarded to graduates from over than 30 countries including Brazil, Ghana, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Slovakia, Spain, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. A crowd of over 18,000 family members and friends attended the event.

Student Organization President Emily Cubilete of Bayonne told her classmates to “fall forward, not backward.”

“Remember that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. The one thing that nobody in this world can take from you is the knowledge that you have invested in,” she said.

2017 valedictorian Jumi Kim of Roseland graduated in January with a double major – economics and mathematical science-statistics.

“Find your specialty instead of just following the popular careers,” said Kim. “Try to pursue what you can do well even if it is a small thing, work at it, become better at it, and commit yourself. When you can differentiate yourself from others, you increase your value and the value of what you can become.”

Thursday’s Undergraduate Commencement was the second for Kean University this week. On Tuesday, May 16, the Nathan Weiss Graduate College awarded 662 advanced degrees at its 21st commencement ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, February 19, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Carousel_image_bf9289538565923cc504_childrens_library_2-18

Tue, February 20, 3:30 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Black History Maze in the Children's Library

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_37185e94244ca974ba49_monoprinting

Tue, February 20, 4:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Monoprinting at the Plainfield Public Library

Arts & Entertainment

Why I'm Running for UCDC Chair

February 17, 2018

My vision for Union County includes you. On February 21st, I need your vote so we can build the future of our Party together. 

Vote Colleen Mahr for Union County Democratic Committee Chair, this Wednesday at 7:00PM, Grand Centurion, 440 Madison Hill Rd, Clark, NJ. Details to follow via regular mail. 

 

 

Contact: ...

Parsippany One of Seven School Districts that Required Police Presence Last Week

February 18, 2018

PARSIPPANY, NJ - Parsippany is one of seven NJ school districts that had a situation requiring increased police presence and/or change in security since last week's fatal Florida high school shooting.  

In addition to Parsippany's Brooklawn school lockdown several other incidents have been reported throughout the state.  

In Princeton, the ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

'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 ...

'American Hero' explores with powerful performances

‘American Hero’ pulses with tension, clashing emotions at George Street

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNWICK – The issue of social injustice makes its way into “American Hero,” the second play in a trilogy by Christopher Demo-Brown.

Armand Schultz as Rob is to receive a medal of honor for his heroic actions during the Iraq war. Although he lost the use of his legs, he ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

Drama by Raina Telgemeir

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic, 2012) (target audience, Young Adults)

 

When my daughter, Shauna, was six years old, we took her to see her first Broadway production; a revival of The Wiz starring Stephanie Mills. I knew that it was the last time Mills could get away with playing Dorothy, and I impressed upon Shauna that seeing this show was a special moment in her life. As a ...

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, 2017)

Yesterday my cousin, the daughter of my mother's sister, called me from California where she lives, and hit me up for money. This is not the first time she has asked me for money, and not the last, I am sure. She grew up the daughter of a privileged family and cruised to Europe frequently when she was a child. Her wardrobe came from ...

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 2017)

 

Sharyn McCrumb is, quite simply, an American gem, and one of my favorite authors. From her books set in Appalachia with strange characters who remind us of our pioneer past, to St. Dale, a masterpiece about the legendary car racer, Dale Earnhardt in McCrumb's NASCAR series, McCrumb's poetic language and attention to ...

Maisie Dobbs by Jacquelline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press, 2003)

In the song “The Schuyler Sisters” from the Broadway musical Hamilton, sister Angelica sings, “ I've been reading 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine. So men say that I'm intense or I'm insane, You want a revolution? I wanna a revelation . . .” because she and her sisters are “looking for a mind ...