MADISON, NJ (07/23/2018)-- Drew University awarded a bachelor of arts degree to the following area students at its Spring 2018 commencement.
Jose Caban of Blackwood (08012)
Stephanie D'Andrea of Cherry Hill (08003)
Kia Hill of Browns Mills (08015)
McClellan Knapp of Vineland (08360)
Nicholas Lamb of Mullica Hill (08062)
Autumn Melvage of Pennsauken (08110)
Aaron Sartorio of Egg Harbor City (08215)
Kieran Sullivan of Willingboro (08046)
Gabriel Watkins of Cherry Hill (08002)
Tanirah Watson of Mount Holly (08060)
Speakers at the ceremony included Tony Award-winning actor John Leguizamo and acclaimed alumna Mallory Mortillaro C'13, G'15.
Leguizamo saluted the work ethic of immigrants and the inspiring activism of Generation Z. His address included anecdotes from his upbringing in Queens, with Leguizamo assuming the voices of his father and grandfather, characters from his neighborhood and mentors such as a math teacher and his first acting coach.
He also quoted poet William Blake, the writer Voltaire and founding father George Washington, as he asserted that immigrants "will always make this country great. And they will always work hard. In fact, they have to work hard-harder-just to prove themselves."
Mortillaro, who earned acclaim last year for discovering a Rodin sculpture inside Madison Borough Hall, delivered a message of empowerment, encouraging graduates to rise above self-doubt, learn through experiences and discover what sets them apart from others-just as she did in her years since Drew.
Drew University, a Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts university, includes the College of Liberal Arts, the Drew Theological School and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. Drew is located on a beautiful, wooded, 186-acre campus in Madison, New Jersey, a thriving small town close to New York City. It has a total enrollment of more than 2,000 students and has 145 full-time faculty members, 94% of whom hold the terminal degree in their field. The Theological and Caspersen schools offer MA and PhD degrees and the College confers BA degrees in more than 30 disciplines.
Drew is dedicated to exceptional faculty mentorship, a commitment to connecting the campus with the community and a focus on experiential learning. Particularly noteworthy opportunities for undergraduates include the Charles A. Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE), home of 2015 Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine and Drew Fellow William Campbell, the Drew Summer Science Institute (DSSI), the Center for Civic Engagement, as well as New York City semesters focusing on Wall Street, the United Nations, Contemporary Art, Theatre, Social Entrepreneurship and Communications and Media and several international semester programs. Drew also houses the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, the Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, an independent professional theater, as well as the United Methodist Archives and History Center and one of the country's leading concentrations of materials on Willa Cather.