Fairleigh Dickinson University holds 73rd Commencement on May 17

Nearly 3,000 students from 49 countries and 37 states to receive degrees

Teaneck, NJ – On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the 73rd Commencement ceremony of Fairleigh Dickinson University will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Nearly 3,000 students will receive doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees.

The Commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live on the web, allowing family and friends around the world to share the ceremony with their graduates.

The ceremony will include presenting honorary degrees on Jeffrey L. Pierson, Sr., Brigadier General (Retired) from the United States Army; and Dennis Strigl, FDU alum and retired President and COO of Verizon Communications.

The campus provosts will present the Student Pinnacle Awards to this year’s winners: Katelyn Arathoon from Ontario, Canada, representing the Metropolitan Campus, Shi (Porter) Yang from Taiwan representing the Florham Campus and Laura Rodriguez Romero from Colombia representing the Vancouver Campus in British Columbia, Canada.

Class Facts

Numbering just under 3,000, FDU’s class of 2016 hails from 49 countries and 37 states. The top five most popular undergraduate majors are psychology, nursing, communications, criminal justice and biology, while the top five most popular graduate majors are computer science, administrative science, accounting, electrical engineering and public administration.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Dennis F. Strigl

Fairleigh Dickinson University alumnus, Dennis F. Strigl, is widely recognized as one of the most prominent architects of the wireless communications industry. His experience extends from launching the nation’s first cellular telephone network and managing several of the largest cellular mergers in the industry, to today leading one of the world’s preeminent wireless companies.

Strigl was the lead executive in charge of integrating Verizon Wireless when that company was formed in April 2000, by combining the domestic wireless operations of Bell Atlantic, Vodafone AirTouch, and GTE.

Previously, he served as president and CEO of Bell Atlantic Mobile and group president and CEO of Bell Atlantic Global Wireless, Bell Atlantic’s wireless portfolio, with domestic operations in 28 states and international investments in Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.

Strigl has served in the telecommunications industry for more than 40 years. He was instrumental in launching the nation’s first cellular telephone network in Chicago, and he won the Cellular Industry Achievement Award for engineering advancement and pioneering in marketing programs.

Strigl holds a degree in business administration from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Jeffrey L. Pierson

Jeffrey L. Pierson served in the United States Army for 42 years, and retired as a Brigadier General on June 25, 2003. His last assignment prior to military retirement was the Assistant Adjutant General-Army, Headquarters, New Jersey State Area Command, Fort Dix, New Jersey. His many duties included directing, supervising, and coordinating special functions and activities of the Army National Guard. Some of his additional assignments and responsibilities were in such matters as the assistant Division Commander for Training 42nd Infantry Division; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Unit Readiness and Strength Management.

Among General Pierson’s most notable military assignments during his career include Chief of Staff, Headquarters, New Jersey State Area Command; Director, Military Personnel; Mobilization and Readiness Officer; G-3, 50th Armored Division; and Executive Officer, 50th Armored Division Artillery.

Pierson has received numerous military and civilian awards, decorations, and honors including the Legion of Merit award for exceptional service in the U.S. Army.

Pierson holds a degree in Public Administration from Roger Williams University and a MAS degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was also an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching in both the Bachelor and Masters programs.

Student Pinnacle Winners

The Pinnacle Award is the highest honor the University bestows on a graduating student. One student from each campus who has demonstrated academic excellence, public service and commitment to the University is honored. Winners will address their fellow graduates and the assembled audience.

Katelyn Arathoon

Metropolitan Campus

Katelyn Arathoon, of Ontario, Canada, will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry. She served as captain of the FDU Women’s Soccer team, was named “Woman of the Year” for 2016 by the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, was a voting member on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, a Co-President of the Class Gift Committee, the Metropolitan Campus Student Representative on the Alumni Board of Governors, and a member of the University Honors Program. Athletically, in April 2015, Katelyn was selected to represent FDU and the NEC at the NCAA Leadership Forum in Orlando, Florida. Later that year, she was awarded the FDU Women’s Soccer Team Knight award. After graduation Katelyn plans to continue her education in medical or graduate school.

Shi (Porter) Yang

Florham Campus

Shi (Porter) Yang, from Taiwan and educated in Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in three majors — Political Science, Criminology and Sociology — in just three years. Porter was very active on campus and served as the President of the Student Government Association, member of the Campus Standard Committee, student leader of the Becton College Student Leader Network and an Orientation Leader for international students. Porter was involved in numerous clubs including Mock Trial Club and Campus Life Diversity Committee. Additionally he held positions in the Office of Global Learning and Campus Life. Porter plans to take a year to explore the world before applying to law school.

Laura Rodriguez Romero

Vancouver Campus

Laura Rodriguez Romero, born in Colombia and educated in El Salvador, will graduate with from the International Business Program with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. During her time with FDU-Vancouver, Laura has been active as a Global Scholar, as a member of the Model United Nations Association where she represented the Vancouver campus in the World Model United Nations Association in South Korea, and as an active member of the Toastmasters Club. After graduation, Laura hopes to enter the international trade industry by working with an import and export firm in Vancouver. She has plans to attend graduate school for an MBA in international business.

About Fairleigh Dickinson University

Devoted to the preparation of world citizens through global education, Fairleigh Dickinson is New Jersey's largest private university and features more than 100 liberal arts and professional degree programs, two international campuses, dozens of partnerships with internationally renowned institutions and special programs and status within the United Nations. For more information, please visit www.fdu.edu.

FDU Office of Public Relations

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