Award-Winning Journalist Judy Woodruff Hosts 2019 Graduate Commencement

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Published January 22, 2019
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The Montclarion
Award-winning journalist Judy Woodruff addresses the crowd at the 2019 graduate commencement. Photo courtesy of Mike Peters

Montclair State University awarded 668 doctoral and master’s degrees in science and mathematics, humanities and social sciences, business, the arts, and education in this year’s graduate commencement ceremony.

The university bid a farewell to students who fulfilled their degree requirements this past August and January on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.

This year’s commencement address was delivered by award-winning broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, who received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Montclair State President Susan A. Cole, who officiated over the commencement ceremony.

Woodruff, who is the active anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” has an honored career covering politics and other news in a career bridging more than four decades.

Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole addresses the graduate students at commencement.
Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion Photo credit: Tiffany Baskerville

Woodruff is a seasoned journalist for steering television networks, like NBC, CNN and PBS, helping pioneer the current state of broadcast journalism. She and the late Gwen Ifill are recognized as the first women to co-anchor a national news broadcast.

Woodruff shared her words of encouragement with The Montclarion prior to addressing the crowd of graduates with the same message.

“I’m here today with one main message: to tell you that we need you,” Woodruff said. “We need your brains. We need your talent, willingness to work hard, values, and we need each one of you to dedicate yourself to making your part of the world a better place.”

The resonating themes that Woodruff tried to bring across to the graduate students were to dream big and make a difference.

One graduate, Rhonda Robinson, received a master’s degree in inclusive education after already having a master’s degree in education. Robinson was overwhelmed with excitement after hearing the final words of confirmation that she has finally completed her long journey.

Montclair State graduate Rhonda Robinson celebrates her accomplishments at the 2019 commencement ceremony with her family.
Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion Photo credit: Tiffany Baskerville

“The best choice I made was coming here to a community that really helped me grow and cultivate my gifts and talents,” Robinson said. “Graduating here, I made the right choice. I will truly miss Montclair State.”

With the inevitable departures of former classmates and professors, graduate students give their final farewells to their college experience as they look to the future.

D’Amani Wooten, graduating with a master’s in marketing, is reflective on her college experience at Montclair State.

“If I remember anything, this experience has taught me is to just stay focused,” Wooten said. “Remember where your end goal is and trust in the faculty of professors who are always there to guide you.”

D’Amani Wooten takes photos with her family, excited to be done with her education at Montclair State University.
Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion Photo credit: Tiffany Baskerville

The commemoration marked is the first of two commencement ceremonies for students of the graduate school in 2019.

The spring graduate commencement will be held on May 21 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The undergraduate commencement will take place on May 24 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

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