Rutgers University Commencement Speaker Roundup


  • newswise-fullscreen Rutgers University Commencement Speaker Roundup

    Credit: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

    Super Bowl LIII champions and Rutgers alumni Jason McCourty (right) and Devin McCourty (left) of the New England Patriots will deliver the 253rd commencement address to Rutgers-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences graduates on May 19.

  • newswise-fullscreen Rutgers University Commencement Speaker Roundup

    Kenneth C. Frazier

  • newswise-fullscreen Rutgers University Commencement Speaker Roundup

    Dorothy Roberts

The McCourty Twins to Deliver Rutgers-New Brunswick/Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Commencement Address

The Rutgers Board of Governors voted to award honorary degrees to Super Bowl LIII champions and Rutgers alumni Jason McCourty and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots when they address graduates at the 253rd anniversary commencement of Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences on May 19, 2019.

On the field, the McCourtys made history on Feb. 3, 2019, when they became the first set of twins to play together in, and win, a Super Bowl. Off the field, the former Scarlet Knights continue to make headlines as they dedicate their time to the fight against sickle cell anemia by collaborating with the New Brunswick-based nonprofit Embrace Kids Foundation. Their commitment to community service and philanthropy makes them a perfect fit to receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees at the May 19 ceremony at HighPoint.com Stadium in Piscataway.

Jason McCourty, a 2009 graduate, and Devin McCourty, a 2010 graduate, arrived at Rutgers-New Brunswick in 2005 and were standout members of the Rutgers football team. While the brothers took slightly different paths after college – they made the leap to the NFL one year apart and landed on different teams, Jason McCourty in Tennessee and Devin McCourty in New England – they have remained united, personally and publicly, known as the McCourty Twins through social media and in their efforts to give back to the community. Read the full release.

Gov. Phil Murphy to Receive Honorary Degree

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the May 19 commencement ceremony at HighPoint.com Stadium in Piscataway. Following a 23-year career in international business, Murphy focused on civic life and philanthropic pursuits. Before becoming governor, Murphy served as the United States ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany under President Barack Obama. He won the November 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial election alongside running mate Sheila Oliver. Read the full release.

Kenneth C. Frazier to Deliver Rutgers Law School Commencement Address

Kenneth C. Frazier, chief executive officer and board chair of Merck & Co. will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rutgers-Camden when he addresses the Rutgers Law School commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 23, the Rutgers Board of Governors announced.

Under Frazier’s leadership, Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) delivers innovative lifesaving medicines and vaccines as well as long-term and sustainable value to its multiple stakeholders. Frazier has substantially increased Merck’s investment in research, including early research, while refocusing the organization on the launch and growth of key products that provide benefit to society. In addition, he has led the formation of philanthropic and other initiatives that build on Merck’s 125-year-plus legacy.

Neal Katyal to Receive Honorary Degree

Neal Katyal, former Acting U.S. Solicitor General, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rutgers-Camden during the Rutgers Law School commencement. As Acting Solicitor General of the United States, Katyal argued several major Supreme Court cases, including his successful defense of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and his victorious defense of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for alleged abuses in the war on terror. As a professor at Georgetown, in his first Supreme Court argument, Katyal won Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case that shut down the Guantanamo military tribunals.  Read the full release.

Scholar Dorothy Roberts to Deliver Rutgers-Newark Commencement Address

Earlier this year, the Rutgers Board of Governors confirmed that interdisciplinary scholar, public intellectual and social justice advocate Dorothy Roberts will deliver the keynote address at the Rutgers-Newark Commencement Ceremony on May 22 at the Prudential Center. Selected for this honor by a committee of students, faculty, and staff, Roberts also will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. 

As a scholar, teacher and activist whose work appears in both scholarly and popular venues—including myriad television and radio shows and a wildly popular TED Talk viewed by more than a million people to date—Roberts has aimed in her work to sharpen perception of discriminatory assumptions and practices woven into our everyday lives. She advocates for realizing a vision of the world in which human beings of all backgrounds, genders, religions and abilities actually are valued as equal.

Wayne Shorter to Receive Honorary Degree

Jazz legend and Newark native Wayne Shorter will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Rutgers-Newark Commencement. Shorter switched from playing clarinet to saxophone while a student at Newark Arts High School and began playing in jazz ensembles and big bands before graduating from New York University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He played with Maynard Ferguson’s big band, then joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, establishing himself as one of the premier saxophonists in the world. He played with the cutting-edge Miles Davis Quintet, proving to be one of the ensemble’s most productive composers, while also striking out as a solo artist, recording numerous albums that included enduring jazz classics such as “JuJu,” “House of Jade” and “Yes and No.” Read the full release.


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