HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) – Centenary University will hold its 146th commencement in a series of outdoor ceremonies to celebrate the Class of 2021.
Three in-person ceremonies are scheduled on campus:
- Wednesday, May 5, 6:00 p.m. —Hooding ceremony and commencement for master and doctoral students.
- Saturday, May 8, 9:00 a.m. —Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science degree recipients.
- Saturday, May 8, 1:00 p.m. —Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Social Work, and Associate of Arts degree recipients.
In keeping with the University’s Centenary Choice initiative launched last August, graduates will have the option of attending commencement in person or virtually via livestreaming. During the current academic year, Centenary Choice permitted the University’s students to attend classes in person on campus, online, or in a HyFlex format combining the two.
The initiative has allowed Centenary students to design their classroom experience—and now their commencement—in a way that meets the individual comfort level of each person during the pandemic, explained University President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D.: “Centenary Choice has played an important role for our students during the pandemic. While some outdoor restrictions may be lifting, we understand that not every graduate will be comfortable celebrating in a larger group. Centenary Choice allows the Class of 2021 to come together—in person and virtually—with their classmates, while respecting the comfort level of each graduate.”
Valedictorian of the Class of 2021 is Kevin Chroback of Califon, NJ, a biology major who will graduate with a perfect 4.0 average and will deliver the valedictory address at both May 8 undergraduate commencements. Takisha Knight, who has earned a master’s in business administration, will address the master’s and doctoral graduates at the May 5 hooding ceremony and commencement.
The commencement speaker for the two undergraduate ceremonies will be Aakash Shah, M.D., a frontline emergency room physician at Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), who helped diagnose the earliest confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Dr. Shah contributed his knowledge on healthcare accessibility, as well as the pandemic, to support a member of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, which coalesced platforms from the two presidential candidates into a cohesive approach that is now guiding the healthcare policy of the Biden administration. A member of the transition team for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Dr. Shah was also honored at the White House during the Obama administration for Be Jersey Strong, a grassroots effort he founded to increase accessibility to coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The University will present Dr. Shah with a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, to recognize his extraordinary contributions to public health.
In addition to the three commencement ceremonies, the University’s Office of Alumni Relations and Alumni Association Executive Board will host a twilight reception on campus on Friday, May 7, at 5 pm to celebrate the Class of 2020, whose degrees were conferred in a virtual ceremony last year due to the pandemic.
Attendance at all events is limited to ticketed guests and masking and social distancing will be required. All in-person ceremonies will be contingent on New Jersey guidelines for outdoor gatherings.
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