Thursday, May 12, 2022
More than 400 master’s degrees or doctorates were conferred during May 12 event
by Adam Grybowski
Rider University held its graduate Commencement ceremony on May 12, where more than 400 students were recognized for earning their master's degrees and doctorates.
“Your accomplishments make this an extraordinarily happy day for all of us,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs DonnaJean A. Fredeen during the ceremony, held on Rider’s campus inside Alumni Gym.
The event marked a return to a more traditional ceremony following delays and reconfigurations over the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, though it wasn’t without interruption. Rider President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., who recently tested positive for COVID-19, did not attend the ceremony but recorded a message for the graduating class.
"I'm sure today will be only the first of many proud and successful moments in your life," he told the graduates.
Judith M. Persichilli ’80, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health who has helped lead the state’s response to the pandemic, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. In 1980, she received a Master of Arts in Administration summa cum laude from Rider.
In her remarks to the graduating class, Persichilli said, "You lived through a historic event. You've learned to be resilient and adapt quickly to the curveballs that have been thrown your way. What you have learned, I hope you will carry through your personal lives and careers. Understand that everything you learned at Rider will carry through in leadership positions as you move forward."
Jennifer Fiander ’97, who received a master's of business administration during the ceremony, delivered the student speech. She completed a bachelor’s in communication at the University 25 years ago while serving as the president of the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha.
"You’ve already proven you’re capable of greatness," she said. "Your resilience and perseverance will carry you through when the work gets hard."
Although the vast majority of graduate students from the Class of 2022 were from New Jersey (79%), 19 home states in total were represented among the student body of this year’s class, including Texas, Iowa and California. Four percent of the class hailed from outside the United States, including China, Norway and Saudi Arabia. Thirty percent were underrepresented students. More than a third of recipients (36%) had also received their undergraduate degree from Rider.
The graduate ceremony is one of three Rider is holding this year. Undergraduates are being celebrated on May 14, with a separate ceremony for graduates of Westminster Choir College scheduled for May 13.
- Judith M. Persichilli ’80, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health who has helped lead the state’s response to the pandemic, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
- Jennifer Fiander ’97, who received a master's of business administration during the ceremony, delivered the student speech.