New Jersey City University awarded 1,765 graduate and undergraduate degrees this morning at a commencement ceremony at the IZOD center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The students, parents and faculty heard an inspiring speech from Carlos Lejnieks, President and CEO of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson, & Union Counties.
Lejnieks was awarded the University’s Presidential Medallion for his public service. In his speech, he recalled his Ecuadorian-born single mother’s quest to become a U.S. citizen, and expressed his gratitude to her and his mentors, who stopped him from dropping out of school, and helped him become a “social entrepreneur”.
Graduates also heard from Irene Trowell- Harris, a 1971 graduate of the school, who went on to hold the title of U.S.A.F. N.C. major general and former director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veterans. Dr. Trowell-Harris who triumphed over adversity on many fronts, became a national advocate for women, diversity, and equal opportunity in both the military and civilian life.
This was the largest class ever to graduate from New Jersey City University, formerly known as Jersey City State College.