CBS News Anchor Chris Wragge to Speak
Ramapo College of New Jersey will celebrate its largest commencement ceremony on May 16 when 1,516 graduates receive their degrees at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Emmy Award winning CBS News anchor Chris Wragge will speak at the College’s 54th annual commencement ceremony. Wragge will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2012 at the 10 a.m. ceremony.
A graduate of Mahwah High School and the University of New Hampshire, his professional accomplishments in the broadcasting industry have garnered him 14 Emmys, including three wins in the Best News Anchor category. In addition, he and his CBS News colleagues won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for “CBS Reports: Children of the Recession.”
Graduating Class Speaker Gregory Allen, 42, of Ringwood, NJ, an Environmental Studies major, will deliver remarks on behalf of the Class of 2012. Allen will be the fourth member of his family to graduate from Ramapo College. An entrepreneur, Allen has managed to secure in excess of $20 million dollars in federal and state grants to help construct more than 250 units of affordable housing throughout Hudson and Bergen counties. After graduation, Allen will continue his work on a $70 million dollar redevelopment project in Northern New Jersey where he is converting former landfills into commuter parking lots and large scale solar fields. He earned his degree by attending classes at nights and on the weekend while working full time and raising a family.
The Award of Merit will be presented to Aijaz “Jazz” Tobaccowalla ‘90. Tobaccowalla, 44, ofUpper Saddle River, NJ, is a Senior Vice President with Pfizer. He is in charge of business technology for the company’s global biopharmaceutical businesses. His work was recently featured in an article in CIO Magazine and he has spoken on information technology matters affecting business as a panelist at Temple University and at the University of Maryland.
Ramapo will also honor College supporters and friends, Lawrence and Theresa Salameno ofAllendale, NJ, with Honorary Doctorate of Letters degrees.
or more information about commencement visit http://www.ramapo.edu/
Aside from the Graduating Class speaker, other student stories that may be of special interest to the media include:
Nora Dougherty, of Middletown, NJ, is the first Ramapo student to receive a Fulbright U.S. Student Award. An International Studies student with a minor in Political Science, Spanish, and Human Rights and Genocide, she received an English Teaching Assistant grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Dougherty will spend nine months in Spain teaching English and “improving knowledge of the United States” beginning in September 2012. Nora studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain in 2010 and knew she wanted to return.
Clifton Shambry, of Paterson, NJ, is an Equal Opportunity Fund Student who has been a Student Government Association leader and a student athlete as a member of the cross country team. Clifton participated in the China Spring Break Immersion trip in 2011 and will be attending Columbia University to study Higher and Postsecondary Education. Clifton shared the College’s Jerome Lee Award for Outstanding Leadership with Lindsey Jachens, whose information follows.
Lindsey Jachens, of Montvale, NJ , was co-recipient of the Jerome Lee Award for Outstanding Leadership. A member of women’s basketball and lacrosse teams, Lindsey exemplifies the student athlete. As President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, she has led her peers in multiple service projects, including after-dark, alcohol-free student programming, several food drives, and the “adoption” by the lacrosse and basketball teams of three young area children suffering from serious illnesses.
Samantha Pezzimenti of Wall, NJ, has been an exceptional mathematics student, researcher and tutor. She completed a research project on knot theory, which she presented at a national mathematics conference and will begin a Ph.D. graduate program in mathematics in the fall.
Julie Truong, of Mahwah, NJ, will attend medical school to specialize in Emergency Medicine. She has worked with Professor Seung-Sup Kim on biochemical and structural studies of several recombination proteins from Deinococcus radiodurans. "Productions and Biochemical Studies of Recombination Proteins Including RecR, RecO and their Complex from Deinococcus radiodurans” was presented at six conferences.
Elyse Toribio, of Teaneck, NJ, is a multimedia journalist who already has an impressive portfolio of news and feature stories for print, radio and the Web. Her work won her a spot in the prestigious New York Times student journalist institute and she was selected as one of 12 journalism students nationwide to participate in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ student media project last year. She is completing an internship at CBS Radio and was news editor and editor in chief of the Ramapo News, the College newspaper.
Ashley Katalenas, of Toms River, NJ, was named outstanding senior in the Contemporary Arts Contract Major. Her expertise in large-format photography enabled her to turn a successful internship at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia into a paid freelance photography position. A dedicated animal rescue volunteer, she has retrieved, housed and relocated hundreds of adult rabbits from her garage shelter.
Erin Kaplan-Burns, of Haddonfield, NJ, served a two-year term as the Student Trustee on the Ramapo College Board of Trustees. She has chaired the “College Advocates Supporting Higher Education,” which engages elected officials on behalf of the College. She currently has an accounting internship at L’Oreal Paris and has accepted a full-time position there upon graduation.
Michael Chananie of Paramus, NJ, will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a major in Management and a Minor in Accounting. He has held various leadership positions including the Student Executive Board of the College Honors Program, and has held a job at Hold Name Medical Center in their Marketing/Public Relations department since his freshman year. He will attend Seton Hall for a Master’s in Health Care Administration.
Taryn Blaustein, of Parsippany, NJ, completed social work internships at the New Jersey AIDS Services in Morris Plains and with the Court Appointed Special Advocates Program of Morris County. She was accepted with advanced standing at both Fordham University’s and New York University’s MSW programs.
Jessica Jansen, of Emerson, NJ, has completed social work internships at Spring House, a halfway house for women in Paramus, and with the Bergen County Office of Alcohol and Drug Dependency. In the fall, she will attend either Rutgers or New York University’s MSW program with advanced standing.
Edward Watson, of Glen Rock, NJ, completed his social work internships at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood and the Social Services Association of Ridgewood and Vicinity. He will enroll in the fall in New York University’s MSW programs with advanced standing.
Brendan Flanagan, of West Keansburg, NJ, is a triple major in International Studies, Literature and Peace Studies. He received his school’s Research Award for his senior capstone project, “Applying Insights from Recent Transnational Justice Scholarship to the Northern Irish Case.” His research was accepted for presentation at the International Studies Association’s annual Human Rights Conference in Glasgow, Scotland this year. He will pursue a Ph.D. in English.