WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (May 9, 2022) – Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist, educator, documentary producer, prominent trial attorney and author Jack Ford will deliver the keynote address at the Monmouth University graduate and doctoral commencement exercises, as well as the University’s first-ever all-undergraduate class gathering on May 11, where he will receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities.
Ford’s keynote coincides with the formal return of commencement to the University’s West Long Branch campus, after 16 years of being held at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 commencement at PNC, Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy mobilized administrators and faculty to ensure that the 2020 graduates were celebrated with an in-person commencement. What followed was a series of 17 smaller, in-person, on-campus, socially distanced ceremonies over the next 18 months honoring the Classes of 2020 and 2021. With COVID-19 restrictions eased, Leahy decided to make the temporary solution permanent, returning to a storied University tradition of on-campus commencement celebrations.
“From the first moment I set foot on our magnificent grounds, I knew that our team had to find a way to return to on-campus ceremonies,” Leahy said. “The student experience is anchored to our campus community, and our students deserve a capstone event that celebrates this connection.
“Honoring Jack Ford on our central campus is also fitting. He is a shining example of a Monmouth County local who constantly gives back to the community. We take great pride in honoring him for his many contributions to Monmouth University as a former trustee, visiting professor, and frequent speaker and host of academic colloquia and public policy discussions.”
The graduate and doctoral commencement ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 at 10 a.m., and the all-undergraduate class gathering is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 at 4 p.m. Both events will be held on campus at the Henni Kantor Kessler and John H. Kessler Stadium; the rain site is the OceanFirst Bank Center. Three additional, school-specific, undergraduate degree conferral ceremonies will take place on Thursday, May 12. For additional details, including links to livestreams of each ceremony, visit monmouth.edu/commencement.
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