Kayly Coleman / Staff Writer
Spring at Raritan Valley Community College is an exciting time, as students study for their final exams, getting ready to wrap up another semester. For about 1200 of those students, this will be their last time doing so.
Graduates will walk down the soccer field at 10:00 AM Saturday, May 17 at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony. An estimated 500-600 of the 1200 graduates will participate in the ceremony and receive both two-year (Associate’s) and one-year (certificate) degrees.
Ralph Izzo was announced on April 24th as the ceremony’s commencement speaker. Izzo is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG). He will be receiving an honorary degree at the ceremony.
Izzo is a well-known leader in the utility industry and often testifies before Congress and other interest groups about national energy policy. He serves as chair of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and on the Rutgers University Board of Governors, the Board of Directors for The Williams Companies, the New Jersey Utilities Association, the Edison Electric Institute, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, and The Center for Energy Workforce Development.
A committee of faculty members selected Christopher Russo and Cherry Zamudio as the student speakers. Russo is from Bridgewater, NJ and has served as president of RVCC’s Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, and Zamudio is from Somerville, NJ and has served as co-president of RVCC’s chapter of Enactus. Both are members of RVCC’s Honor’s College and PTK’s All New Jersey Academic Team, which recognizes two students in every NJ community college for outstanding academic performance and service to the community.
Tiffany Calvert, a professor from the Visual and Performing Arts program, will also be speaking at the ceremony. Calvert teaches Drawing, Painting, Color Theory, 2D Design and Critical Theory and Contemporary Art classes. Her work has been exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions including The Lawrimore Project in Seattle, The Visual Arts Gallery at SVA New York, and The Lab in San Francisco.
Many of the four-year transfer schools have started responding to the graduates. According to Janet Thompson, RVCC’s Executive Director of Marketing, “70% of students enrolled in the college are in transfer programs, but a lot of them, even at this date, do not know what school they will be transferring to in the fall.” The school has had students transfer to many different schools and programs across the country. Some of these include prestigious colleges, such as Cornell University, New York University, and Harvard University.
Graduates are given two tickets for guests to attend the ceremony. Guests are allowed to bring lawn chairs or blankets to watch from behind the seating area. The ceremony will continue to take place on the soccer field if it rains, but will be moved indoors in the event of dangerous weather conditions.
Additional information on how to purchase tickets as well as parking availability can be found at raritanval.edu/commencement, which will be available one week before the ceremony.