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

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Other

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, April 23, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Free Living History Event Showcases World War I Centennial

April 21, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to experience battlefield life as a World War I American Salvation Army volunteer, featuring Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”

Doughnuts for Doughboys takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at ...

More Than Just Kindness for Roxbury Student Adored by Tragically Killed Boy

April 17, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – She lost her 10-year-old son three years ago in a boating accident on Lake Hopatcong, but Laurie D’Amico is sure her beloved Christopher speaks to her all the time. It’s subtle but firm, she says; messages that come as sparks of recollection, inspiration or intuition.

One of those unexpected inklings led Laura and her husband Chris to a jewelry ...

Blood Drive en Plainfield High School el viernes

April 12, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Un esfuerzo de sangre se llevará a cabo el viernes en Plainfield High School en asociación con la Cruz Roja Americana.

¿Alguna vez se ha preguntado qué le sucede a la pinta de sangre que dona?

Según la Cruz Roja, la donación se almacena en refrigeradores helados hasta que se transporta a un centro de la Cruz Roja y se escanea en una ...

Springtime Advice from Rapps Pharmacy

April 17, 2018

It may not feel like spring, but that spring weather is right around the corner and so is allergy season!  Here is some friendly advice from Rapps Pharmacy, your neighborhood pharmacy:

Combating the Allergy Season

As seasons change and pollen counts rise, more and more people clash with the aggravating symptoms of seasonal allergies. Beginning in February and lasting into early summer, ...

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Nestled in the heart of Plainfield is NJ Printing & Embroidery, a family-owned business providing digital screen printing and embroidery for custom shirts, caps and other items.

The company also offers custom printed business cards, fliers, banners and storefront vinyls, and can provide expert graphic art design upon request.

Eric ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...

The Skin Collector

The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central, 2014)

Jack the Ripper. The Boston Strangler. The Texas Watchtower Killer. The Zodiac Killer. The Angel of Death. The Butcher. BTK. The police and the press have a long history of dubbing serial killers with names that catch the attention of the public, usually having the effect of instilling greater fear and selling more print media so that ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)

 

In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...