Rowan University’s 89th Commencement Ceremony

Greetings Rowan University community! As we near the end of yet another successful school year, we are faced with goodbyes to our graduating senior class. This year’s 89th commencement ceremony has brought a lot of big changes for our campus and we want to insure that all of our students, faculty and staff are up-to-date on commencement information.

Please review the following information:

  • Graduate Commencement- Thursday, May 15th, 10 a.m.
  • Undergraduate Commencement- Friday, May 16th, 10 a.m.
  • Main ceremony location- Coach Richard Wackar Stadium*
  • CCCA secondary location- Esbjornson Gymnasium, 12 p.m.

*The main ceremony now requires tickets for entry. 

Ticket Information:

  • Students are allowed to reserve three (3) tickets to the main and secondary ceremonies.
  • Tickets can be reserved at
  • All tickets, for main and secondary ceremonies, must be reserved by Thursday, May 8th.
  • Once you reserve your tickets you will need to print them out. If you are not able to print them out when you reserve them, you will still be able to later (they will be on your account via the ticket reservation website).
  • Special needs tickets count towards ticket total for the main and/or secondary ceremonies.

If you need additional tickets, you may enter the online ticket pool on May 9th (no guarantees). 

Cap and Gown Information:

  • Caps, gowns and honors cords can be purchased on the second floor at Barnes and Noble at Rowan University, located on Rowan Boulevard. They will be available for purchase until May 14th.

You can find additional commencement information. including: locations for other secondary ceremonies, rain ceremonies and footwear requirements at 

Commencement Remarks 2010 and Honoring Tony Fulginiti

Class of 2010, you made it.  It’s been a challenge, but here you are.  And we, your professors, advisors, professional staff, friends, and family are so glad and so proud.  In your years here at Rowan, you as a group have accomplished much.  You have gotten good grades, excelled at sports, become a part of Greek organizations, kept student groups alive and successful, and won awards. Your successes and your challenges have touched your faculty and your peers.  You’ve made lifelong friends and learned more about yourself in the process. And now you turn to a whole new set of pursuits.  Some of you will head off to graduate school, some will get full time jobs, some will travel, some will start a family or continue raising a family, and some of you may not be quite sure what you will do after the graduation party.  There are many paths that you can take, but regardless of what you chose to pursue, my one piece of advice to you is the same – but, before I turn to that piece of advice, I would like to speak briefly about a member of our college, who is an impressive example of the principle I am about to espouse to you.  That individual is Professor Tony Fulginiti.

Professor Tony Fulginiti has been at Rowan since 1976, helping to build the Public Relations program and providing his service and support to the department and its students.  During his time at Rowan, Professor Fulginiti dedicated himself to doing each task to the best of his ability, and it showed.  He established and “brought up” a nationally award winning chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America that has contributed to the career success of many students.  In recognition of his work, the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America named an award for education in his honor, and he received the Outstanding Educator in the Nation award from PRSA in 1987. An author, a practitioner, and a dedicated teacher, Professor Fulginiti recently established the Fulginiti Education Foundation to serve public relations students at Rowan. He is clearly an example of long-term excellence to which we can all aspire and we are lucky to have had the pleasure to have him as a vital part of the College of Communication.  Professor Fulginiti is moving into a new phase of his life, retirement, this summer, and I suspect he will launch into that phase with all the devotion and focus he has shown to his work at Rowan.

Professor Fulginiti’s career can be seen as an example of the piece of advice I would like to leave you with today.  That advice is as follows:  Whatever path you choose to take with your life and your career, engage it fully and to the best of your ability.

Kenneth Burke, noted scholar of communication talks about humans as being the inventors of the negative.  Now, to discuss all of the things Burke meant by that would take more time than I have today, but one of the ways to understand it is that Burke is saying that we humans think in terms of what is not-here and not-now.  While we are doing one thing, we think about what we are not doing or what we should or shouldn’t be doing.  We have lunch with a friend, but we are thinking about the fact that we have to go to work afterward.   We get to work and do our jobs, but we are thinking about the workout we didn’t get that morning and planning how we will make up for it later.  We type up a report, but while we do, we consider whether our boss will like it and what she will say about it and whether it will help us get a raise or a bonus. We head home and have some leftover pizza, but we think about the salad that we should have had and what’s on television that night.  In any case, we are so busy thinking about where, or when, or who we are not, that we cannot dedicate ourselves to when, and where, and who we are. We miss truly listening to that friend and the joy of the conversation; we don’t do our very best work on that report or feel the satisfaction of fully focusing on the task and bringing our utmost to it; we don’t even really enjoy the taste of that pizza.

Keeping yourself in the moment you are in while putting your attention firmly onto the efforts you are engaging in, is the best path to success.  Now, I am not saying that if you do this you will never make a mistake or that you will end up on a yacht in the Caribbean, but when you truly focus on what you are doing and give it your very best, whatever you accomplish in that moment is a success and you can be proud of it.  You probably know this at some level intuitively.  When you have taken a test or written a paper and just put your attention into creating the most persuasive and clear argument you could or really showing what you knew, you likely did far better than when you were worrying about your grade, multi-tasking online, or thinking about something else. And even if the grade wasn’t your highest, you likely still felt good about working to your utmost.

In summary, class of 2010, take this piece of advice, this thing you already know at an intuitive level but maybe rarely consider, and head into your next set of opportunities.  Whatever you do, be in that place and in that time and who you are. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Go forth, Class of 2010, and enjoy the surf.

Commencement 2009

Commencement 2009 was quite a success.  The weather threatened and wavered and graduate commencement had to be moved inside, but the undergraduate ceremonies were held on the green, and in the end, Mother Nature cooperated and we had no rain and reasonable temperatures.  Being able to have the ceremony outside was quite a bonus, because the university had its largest graduating class ever, meaning an immense crowd of family, friends, and loved ones.

Speakers for the day included President Donald Farish; founder, David Girgenti; Armand corporation president, Barbara Armand; senior class president, Brittany Meyer; and SGA president, Phillip Castro.  An honorary degree was awarded to mezzo-soprano Barbara Dever, who also addressed the crowd. Their speeches were touching, humourous, and inspirational by turns.

The audience for the main ceremony, students included, was truly impressive to me.  Not only did everyone look lovely and happy, but they were incredibly courtous and respectful.  Students stood when asked, cheered at appropriate moments, and listened attentively.  Not once did I hear a rude yell or see a beach ball get batted at someone’s head.  Watching them made me feel even more proud of Rowan students than I usually do (which is a lot).

The College of Communication ceremony also went well.  Though the recreational center was a little warm, our administrative staff, lead by Assistant Dean Lin Sweeten, had organized a well-orchestrated event that resulted in very few little hitches along the way.  As with the university ceremony, students and their loved ones were extraordinarily pleasant and responsive.  Getting the opportunity to congratulate each student who crossed the podium was the highlight of my (admittedly brief) tenure as Interim Dean, and something I look forward to doing again next year.

So, all in all, it was a great day.  Congratulations, Class of 2009, and thank you for letting us share in your success.