Congratulations Graduates 2013!


Annual undergraduate Commencement celebrates some 2,200 new graduates.

Rowan University’s 2013 undergraduate Commencement May 17 celebrated the newest class with plenty of Pomp and Circumstance, classic oldies, a choral fanfare, and an honor for the creator of  “Hip Hop Abs.”

The musical ceremony, held on a sparkling spring morning, featured a Commencement address by N.J. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and bestowed honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees on alumnus Larry Salva and his wife Rita as well as a Distinguished Alumnus Award on Shaun “Shaun T” Thompson.

Larry Salva is a 1977 graduate of then-Glassboro State College who today serves as senior vice president, chief accounting officer and controller of Comcast Corporation. He is treasurer of the Rowan University Foundation and has served on the board of the Rowan Alumni Association. Rita is a longtime healthcare professional and, together, the couple has generously supported the University through the Salva Family Scholarship Fund, which assists students who serve with WGLS-FM, the campus radio station, and through the Lawrence and Rita Salva Medical Scholars Fund for students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU).

Internationally known fitness guru and businessman Shaun T is the creator of the popular "INSANITY" and "Hip Hop Abs" workout programs. He launched his career while still an undergraduate at Rowan, teaching glasses in the Student Recreation Center.

Addressing the graduates, their families and friends, President Ali Houshmand said Rowan has always been about action and vision and urged members of the Class of 2013 to be active too.

“We at Rowan act decisively, thoughtfully, and with purpose,” Dr. Houshmand said.

He noted Rowan’s beginnings – founded in 1923 after a handful of residents raised $7,000 for land for the Glassboro Normal School, its evolution through the decades to come, and its status today – on the cusp of becoming a research university with two medical schools.

“Today I challenge you to act too,” he said.

He credited Sen. Sweeney, a co-sponsor of the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act of 2012, with being among Rowan’s greatest supporters. The act designated Rowan as one of New Jersey's two comprehensive public research institutions, instituted a collaboration between Rowan and Rutgers-Camden in a College of Health Sciences, and transferred the School of Osteopathic Medicine to Rowan from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, which the state is disbanding.

Effective July 1, Rowan will become just the second university in the nation with medical schools offering both M.D. and D.O. medical degrees.

Sweeney, a longtime Gloucester County freeholder and a three-term senator, said despite his success in life he didn’t go to college but believes wholeheartedly in higher education.

“Working hard, being determined, those are critical assets, but nothing beats a quality education,” he said.

Sweeney, an ironworker by trade, said one of his proudest moments was seeing his son graduate from college last year and noted he’s even prouder now that his son is in graduate school.

Giving an intensely personal address, he told graduates how his daughter was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder, and how she changed his life.

“In many ways my daughter Lauren taught me what life is all about,” he said.

Echoing President Houshmand, Sweeney urged students to action.

“Follow your passions and don’t settle,” he said.

In addition to undergraduate Commencement, Rowan celebrated graduate Commencement May 16 for about 285 graduates.

Read about some outstanding graduates

Listen to Rowan's 2013 Commencment podcast