Former NJ Assembly Speaker Jack Collins to speak at Commencement

Former NJ Assembly Speaker Jack Collins to speak at Commencement

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Former New Jersey Assembly Speaker Jack Collins will be the speaker at Rowan University's undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, at 10 a.m. on the University Green.

Former New Jersey Assembly Speaker Jack Collins will be the speaker at Rowan University's undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, at 10 a.m. on the University Green.

Close to 2,000 graduates are expected to participate in the 88th annual Commencement ceremony.

Collins, who holds two degrees from the University and is a former administrator and adjunct professor, is the longest serving Speaker in the history of the New Jersey General Assembly. He retired in 2002 after representing the 3rd Legislative District in the Assembly for 16 years. He was the Assembly Speaker for six years, playing a vital role in all of the major legislation passed in the decade of the 1990s.

A Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, resident for almost 40 years, Collins earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education (biological sciences) from then-Glassboro State College in 1964 and his master's degree in guidance and counseling in 1967. He earned his juris doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden in 1982.

Upon leaving the General Assembly in 2002, Collins became senior counsel with the Princeton Public Affairs Group, the largest state lobbying firm in the country. He received the University's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993 and an honorary doctorate from Rowan in 2000.

While Collins will share his words of wisdom with the graduates, David Girgenti, who earned his bachelor's degree in art from the University in 1994, will receive Rowan's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Girgenti is the founder of Wish Upon A Hero (http://www.wishuponahero.org), an online social philanthropy site that connects people in need with those wishing to offer assistance. Widely considered the "Facebook of philanthropy," the site, under Girgenti's leadership, has assisted in the granting of more than 90,000 wishes in the past five years.

Rowan's Commencement speaker in 2009, Girgenti last year established the Wish Upon a Hero Scholarship at Rowan. The scholarship provides $1,000 annually to a student who demonstrates philanthropy.

Graduate Commencement

Rowan alumna Debra P. DiLorenzo, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ), will serve as the speaker for the University's Graduate Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 10, at 5:30 p.m. in Esbjornson Gymnasium.

In her post with CCSNJ, a position she has held for 17 years, DiLorenzo is responsible for leading all facets of the organization's programming, membership, policy-making and long-range planning. Named the "Best Chamber in New Jersey" by NJBIZ, the chamber serves 1,700 member companies that employ close to 325,000 people throughout the region.

A two-time Rowan graduate, DiLorenzo earned her bachelor's degree in communication from the University in 1976 and her master's degree in public relations in 1987. A member of the advisory council for Rowan's Rohrer College of Business, Di Lorenzo has received numerous awards for her leadership and volunteerism. Named the University's Distinguished Alumna in 1995, she also received the same honor from Rowan's College of Communication in 1999.

Altogether, more than 300 graduates are expected to participate in the Graduate Commencement ceremony.

For information on either ceremony, visit http://www.rowan.edu/commencement.

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