Thomas Edison State University’s 49th annual Commencement, held on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J., was a well-deserved occasion for graduates to celebrate this milestone of success.
This year, in response to concerns over the COVID Delta variant, the university hosted two ceremonies and approximately 500 graduates attended from the classes of 2020 and 2021, which includes 2,243 and 2,512 graduates, respectively, from across the country and around the world. The average age of this Commencement’s graduates is 36.5 and the two oldest grads, both 73 years old were among those celebrated this year. Graduates traveled from as far away as Germany, Trinidad and the Bahamas to attend the ceremony and represented every county in New Jersey.
In the afternoon ceremony, which commemorated the Class of 2021, Dr. Cynthia Baum, the university’s provost and vice president, welcomed the graduates and their guests, noting, “I am very excited to be with you today as we celebrate the results of our graduates’ dedication and hard work at Thomas Edison.”
Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of TESU, acknowledged that hard work, affirming, “An Edison education is an education that knows no boundaries… Here we are recognizing the completion of your academic degree with a Commencement ceremony, but to commence is to begin and that is what today is all about, your new beginning, opening the door to your next chapter… I cannot wait to see where your next chapter takes you.”
Student speaker Stephanie Jean, BSN ’21, a critical care nurse resident in the stroke program at ChristianaCare, Newark, Del., told the Class of 2021, “As I stand here today, I am living proof that education has no limit, and it’s the ultimate key to success. Since graduating from TESU with an accelerated BSN degree, my life has not been the same… At my current job, I [am] helping patients with stroke recover and return to their routine. At a personal level, I have seen what education can do. It has completely changed my life because I can effectively care for my daughter and serve the patients who need my help.”
Meg Frantz, MPSL ’20, director of Alumni Engagement, greeted the gathering and noted, “I am also a fellow 2020 graduate and it is my sincere honor and privilege to welcome all of you as Thomas Edison State University alumni. On behalf of my TESU colleagues and your fellow TESU alumni, I congratulate you on this amazing achievement and wish you continued success in the future.”
The university has awarded approximately 69,194 degrees to more than 63,243 graduates since it began providing distinctive undergraduate and graduate education for self-directed adults through flexible, high-quality collegiate learning and assessment opportunities in 1972.