The College of New Jersey held its 167th commencement celebration on May 18-19, 2023 at Lions Stadium on campus.
The Class of 2023 consists of 1,861 undergraduate and 343 graduate students. The class boasts 294 cum laude (3.60-3.74 GPA) grads, 313 magna cum laude (3.75-3.89 GPA) grads, and 217 summa cum laude (3.90-4.00 GPA) grads.
TCNJ President Kathryn A. Foster thanked the class for its perseverance as it endured multiple changes and disruptions to the traditional college experience due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“Class of 2023, thank you for persevering, even when it wasn’t easy, even when your mind was elsewhere, even when campus was closed during critical periods of your college career,” she said. “Thank you for your energy and activism. Thank you for making our campus more accessible, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable. Thank you for authoring papers, creating projects, presenting your research, organizing events, reforming policy, leading our teams to victory, and beautifying our lives with your acting, singing, dancing, art, music, and design. In short, thank you for persevering and performing, and making this place a better place.”
Dylan Catania, a member of the Class of 2023, also reflected on the impact the pandemic had on this class during his remarks at the School of Business ceremony on Thursday evening. “We worked hard to get here but got sent home as freshmen,” he said. “Then we had to work twice as hard— and somehow teach ourselves a degree’s worth of computer mechanics— in order to keep passing grades and maintain some semblance of a social connection with our friends and groups and clubs. No shade on the influenza class of 1918, but we probably had to persevere the hardest to get through our four years.”
This year also marked the first commencement ceremony for two of the college’s deans – Sunita Kramer, dean of the School of Science, and Andrea Welker, dean of the School of Engineering.
“There will always be a special place in my heart for you,” Kramer said at the School of Science ceremony on Thursday. “You are my first graduating class and a part of my very first commencement ceremony at TCNJ. Always remember that you are capable of achieving great things. But also remember that it will take courage to do so. I’m talking about courage in small but mighty everyday experiences. Courage to innovate and creatively solve problems. Courage to try new things, to make mistakes, and to learn from them. Courage to lead, even when others may doubt your abilities. Courage to speak up for your ideas, even when they are unpopular.”
“It is truly an honor to be standing on this podium for the first time,” Welker said at the School of Engineering ceremony. “One of the best parts of being in higher education is seeing how this experience can be so transformative. As graduates of what I believe is the best engineering school in New Jersey, you should be immensely proud of all that you have accomplished since you arrived.”