The annual Founders’ Day Convocation to celebrate the University’s “Mission and Tradition” of 84 years, was held on Oct. 11 in the OceanFirst Bank Center.
Roughly 300 faculty and administrators made their way to the ceremony, clad in academic robes of various colors and designs, accompanied by student leaders and other attendees.
The ceremony opened to the Monmouth University Chamber Orchestra’s processional, under the direction of Michael Gillette, a professor of music, and Bryan Jenner, Assistant Conductor.
Michael Plodwick, Chair of the Board of Trustees, gave a warm welcome to the audience and announced the performance of “America the Beautiful,” sung by the Monmouth University Chamber and Concert Choruses, under the direction of David M. Tripold, accompanied by Maggie Tripold.
Evan Kudish, a senior music industry student and member of the Chamber Chorus, said, “It is really great to perform at the University you love and be involved in a tradition that goes back years. It is a real honor to be part of a ceremony like this one.”
Plodwick delivered the Investiture and presided over the Ceremony when he invested Grey J. Dimenna, Esq., with the charge as the 9th President of Monmouth University
Dimenna addressed the audience and spoke of future goals he wished to accomplish in his time as President. Dimenna said, “By the time I am through, the three most spoken words on this campus will be: ‘Hey President Dimenna.’” Dimenna stressed the importance he places on being visible and attending as many campus events as possible.
Dimenna also mentioned what he loved most about the school, which included the “high caliber of faculty and staff,” and added that it was “the people” that made the University so special.
What makes a Monmouth education different from all others, according to Dimenna, is that students receive so much more than their diploma, but instead receive the realization that they can be leaders.
Dimenna spoke of his desire to keep tuition increases low, and to make an effort to raise scholarship funds.
Closing out his speech, he asked all student leaders in the room to stand for a round of applause, then welcomed both Nicholas Verzicco, a junior business administration student and President of the Student Government Association (SGA), to the stage to give student remarks, respectively.
“This [Founder’s Day] was a very humbling experience,” Verzicco said. “Being able to get up on stage and congratulate University President Dimenna was an opportunity of a lifetime. President Dimenna is very visible and I am glad that I got to give praise where it is due. I always have a lot of school spirit but this really amped everything up and set us up for a great rest of the semester,” he continued.
“Seeing Nick on stage speaking was incredible. This gives us as students and leaders a voice. We go because we want to be there and that’s why there was such an amazing turnout–because we all want to be there,” said SGA Vice President and junior business administration student, Dan Pizzuti.
Three awards were given at the celebration. A conferral of an honorary degree was awarded to Henry D. Mercer III, the Immediate Past Chair on the Board of Trustees.
In addition, William “Bill” Elliott received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and John K. Lloyd, FACHE, Co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health was awarded the Maurice Pollak Award for Distinguished Community Service.
“Seeing Bill (William Elliot) receive the Distinguished Alumni award really hit home for me, it shows us that we can still do a lot and that these people like alumni and the Board of Trustees still look out for us,” Verzicco added.
The ceremony was brought to a close following a musical selection of Justice, followed by the Alma Mater, which was performed by the Monmouth University Chamber and Concert Choruses.
A recessional by the Monmouth University Chamber Orchestra concluded the ceremony, where attendees were welcomed to attend a reception on the second floor of the OceanFirst Bank Center.