Communicating Excellence: CCCA Commencement 2018

Communicating Excellence: CCCA Commencement 2018

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Some 375 participants, and thousands more family and friends, gathered on University Green May 9 for the College of Communication & Creative Arts’ 2018 Commencement ceremony.

The program featured a keynote address by Chris Regina ’95, whose career has taken him from Rowan to a small TV station in Manayunk to SyFy Network to Netflix.

Regina, who in 2017 became director of Global Television, Content Acquisition, at Netflix in Los Angeles, enjoyed a nearly 20-year career at Syfy Network in New York in which he created, developed and supervised original series and more than 350 films including “Van Helsing,” “Dark Matter,” “Z Nation,” “Ghost Wars,” “Aftermath,” “Superstition,” “Wynonna Earp” and the modern cult classic franchise, “Sharknado.”

Regina relayed that despite a goliathan effort to find a job prior to graduation, he left college with no job offers and no clear path for finding one. His break came in the form of an entry level position at over-the-air Channel 48 in Manayunk.

“We were small, wildly dysfunctional, but I got a chance to do everything!” Regina said.

Realizing the future was in cable television, he bucked the advice of some industry colleagues and determined to find his way in the developing medium, ultimately landing at Syfy.

Regina suggested graduates do the same – albeit on their own terms.

“Be honest… say yes to opportunity… find humor when there isn’t any… be open to change… learn who to trust and trust yourself,” he said. “Stay away from pessimists who just want to drag you down and stop texting and talk to people!”

Most importantly, he said, find a way to be happy in your professional life.

“If you work long and hard at something you love it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like you,” he said.

Following his address, Regina was awarded a Rowan University Medal of Excellence for Alumni Achievement.

The ceremony also honored retirees David Hackney, who taught public relations in the college for 31 years, and Michael Donovan, whose 46 years with Rowan began in 1972, when “TVs had cathode ray tubes, weighed 75 pounds each and remote controls were a luxury, not an expectation,” Dean Sanford Tweedie quipped.

Like all Commencement ceremonies, the program was mostly a joyous occasion but it included a somber moment – the awarding of a posthumous degree.

Near the conclusion of the ceremony, a moment of silence was held for Ryan Onderdonk, a communications studies major who passed away prior to graduation. His parents and twin brother, Kyle, a student in the William G. Rohrer College of Business, accepted Ryan’s diploma.