New Jersey Senate president to speak at Rowan commencement

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney will be the keynote speaker at Rowan University\'s 88th undergraduate commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, at 10 a.m. on the Glassboro campus\' University Green

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney will be the keynote speaker at Rowan University's 88th undergraduate commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, at 10 a.m. on the Glassboro campus' University Green.

"Senator Sweeney has been an ardent supporter of the University and instrumental in helping transform our institution and the region," said Dr. Ali Houshmand, Rowan University's president. "Our graduating seniors can learn much from Senator Sweeney about vision and leadership from his anything-is-possible outlook."

Sweeney, who represents the 3rd Legislative District, was first elected to the State Senate in 2001 and has served as its president since 2010. He sponsored the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act of 2012, which designated Rowan as one of New Jersey's two comprehensive public research institutions, instituted a collaboration between Rowan and Rutgers-Camden to establish a College of Health Sciences, and transferred the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Osteopathic Medicine to Rowan. Once the act goes into effect on July 1, Rowan will be only the second university in the nation with two medical schools, offering M.D. and D.O. medical degree programs.

The shift in Rowan's mission will allow the University to offer Ph.D. and professional degree programs that will help the region's economy grow. The University also has plans to double enrollment from 12,000 to 24,000 during the next decade.

"I am honored to serve as Rowan's keynote speaker and look forward to addressing the Class of 2013 and their friends and family," said Senate President Sweeney.  "Rowan, under the leadership of Dr. Houshmand, is one of New Jersey's great institutions of higher learning and the changes we helped implement through the higher education restructuring are going to take it to a whole new level.  Rowan, like New Jersey, is going to be a force to be reckoned with not just in the United States, but worldwide.

In recognition of their tireless work to support education and healthcare education in the region, Rowan will present Princeton residents Larry and Rita Salva honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees during the undergraduate ceremony. A 1977 business graduate of Rowan, Larry Salva is senior vice president, chief accounting officer and controller of Comcast Corporation. He has volunteered his time on both the Rowan Foundation Board and the Alumni Board. A registered dental hygienist, Rita Salva is an adjunct faculty member at two colleges and regularly gives presentations on dental hygiene to community groups.

At commencement, Rowan also will recognize Shaun T, creator of the "Insanity" and "Hip Hop Abs" workout programs, among others, as the 2013 Distinguished Alumni honoree. Shaun T received a B.S. in health and exercise science from Rowan, with a minor in theater and dance, in 2001.

Graduate students will celebrate the completion of their programs at a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. in the Richard Wackar Stadium. The graduate commencement speaker is Jean Edelman, a 1981 alumna and former Rowan University Board of Trustees member.

Jean and her husband, Ric — who is also an alumnus — co-founded Edelman Financial Services and donated funds for the construction and operation of Rowan's Edelman Planetarium. As a student, she was Rowan's first female president of the Student Government Association. She also received the Distinguished Senior Award in her graduating year, and she was named the University's Alumnus of the Year in 1994.

More than 2,000 graduates will participate in ceremonies at the University this year.

For information on the ceremonies, visit