Over 450 undergraduate and graduate degrees were awarded by the University on Friday, Jan. 17, as well as an honorary degree given to Robert Santelli, the commencement address speaker.
Santelli is a University alumnus and the Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. He was also a professor at the University in the music department. During his speech, he complimented the University as being a very special place to him. “Much of what I became in life and what I eventually did with it, originated right here on this campus,” said Santelli.
As Santelli congratulated the 2014 January graduating class, he reminded the students that graduation was only the beginning of their journey. “Hopefully, you went to almost as many frat parties as you did classes, because now the challenges really begin,” Santelli said. “It’s time to really roll up your sleeves.”
Santelli recognized the many issues that students will face upon graduation as well as the many hurtles they will be forced to overcome. He addressed some of the issues that the class will face in the years to come including global warming, student debt and the weakened job market in America.
However, to provide students with insight on their futures, Santelli provided them with guidance. “Unfortunately, I really can’t offer you a road map of making your dream a reality,” said Santelli. “… But I can offer you a few words of advice.”
Santelli provided the students with five pieces of advice: find a mentor, always be reading a book, never be afraid of making mistakes or taking risks, find someone to love, and most importantly: listen to a lot of loud music.
“Wake the neighbors, rattle the windows and your bones, stir your soul and your passion,” Santelli said. “Find your inner beat and later in life strive for these kinds of words from your kids, ‘Dad, please turn down that music.'”
Joseph Dellera, President of the 2014 graduating class, gave a similar message to his fellow classmates. “Our journey is not completed,” said Dellera. “And we are not yet the men and women we must strive to be.”
Dellera explained that each of the graduates are at different stages in their lives. “Some of us are thinking about graduate school, while others are looking for their first job, while others may have just completed a life-long goal,” said Dellera. “Whatever the situation may be, there’s more that can be done, not only for yourselves but for others as well.”
Dellera also provided advice to the University graduates. “If you think not just with your head, but also with your hearts, you will live with no regrets.”
The graduation was an event that the 2014 January graduating class will remember for the rest of their lives. “[The graduation] ceremony will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had,” said Brittany Hardaker, a University alumnus with a degree in communication. “And will stay with me forever.”
Other students explained the feeling of graduation as bittersweet. “I will truly miss the friends and faculty members I met along the way,” said Colleen Thomas, a University alumnus with a degree in psychology. “However, I am eager to utilize the skill set I developed during my time at Monmouth and am ready to embrace the next step in my life.”
Robert Sculthorpe, Chairman of the University Board of Trustees, assured the students that though they will have many problems to face during the coming years, they will be well-prepared. “You have many opportunities and much to be optimistic about,” said Sculthorpe. “The world is waiting for you to make your mark.”
Sculthorpe stated that he is confident in the University graduates, as he wished each of the students success and fulfillment as they seek to reach their full potential, and utilize the talents they developed at the University.
Santelli reminded students, “Having a dream gives you something to shoot for. Going after it offers you the best chance to reach your potential and lead a complete and filling life.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Jim Reme