Communication, nursing majors selected as 2018 Commencement student speakers

Gianluca D'Elia and Lori Schroeder to address the Class of 2018
Rachel Stengel '14

Rider University has selected the student speakers for its 2018 Commencement exercises. Journalism major Gianluca D'Elia will deliver the student speech at the Undergraduate ceremony on Friday, May 11. Lori Schroeder, who is earning a bachelor's in nursing, will deliver the student speech at the Graduate and College of Continuing Studies ceremony, also on May 11.

Schroeder hopes the graduates take the time to celebrate not just their achievements, but themselves as well.

"I want the graduates to know that they truly deserve this," says Schroeder. "This is their moment, not just another notch on the belt or a milestone to reach and keep moving on. They need to take the time to relish in that moment."

D'Elia wants his fellow graduate to recognize the importance of their uniqueness before embarking out into the world.

"I hope people embrace the experiences that have made them who they are today and be proud of the fact that they're a unique person," he says. "There's no one else like them in the world and that's something special."

D'Elia has served as the social media manager and news editor of the University's student newspaper, The Rider News. He participated in several internships; he was a legislative intern for Senator Bob Gordon, Assemblyman Tim Eustace and Assemblyman Joe Lagana, a state house correspondent for the online news site Planet Princeton and a correspondent for the The Hudson Reporter.

He was the first communication student to be selected for an Undergraduate Research Scholar Award, which provided $5,000 to assist his research. He investigated human trafficking in New Jersey and created a multimedia, in-depth news package called, "Slavery in Our State: A Closer Look at Human Trafficking in New Jersey." After graduation, he will delve further into investigative journalism as an intern for's crime and justice team.

Schroeder has been a nurse at Capital Health in Trenton, N.J., for 24 years. After earning her diploma in nursing from Mercer Medical Center and her associate's in science from Mercer County Community College, she wanted to earn her bachelor's in nursing science to keep up with the new standards in her field. She took classes over the course of three years, while working full time and raising three children. She is also a member of Rider's Nursing Advisory Board.

Rider University's Commencement exercises will take place on Friday, May 11, 2018, at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. Acclaimed entrepreneur Norm Brodsky ’64 will receive an honorary Doctorate of Business and address the undergraduate class of 2018 Former Pennsylvania Governor Hon. Mark Schweiker '83 will deliver remarks at the Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement ceremony.

For more information about Commencement, please visit