Ready to explore: CHSS graduates urged to lead with confidence, humility

Ready to explore: CHSS graduates urged to lead with confidence, humility


Master’s and bachelor’s degree graduates from Rowan University’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences were urged to go forth with an “explorer’s spirit” during their Commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 14.

Noting that their future jobs might not even be invented yet, Dean Nawal Ammar told the 635 members of the CHSS Class of 2019 that their CHSS educations have prepared them magnificently for what lies ahead.

“Remember that we are all living in an era of change and innovation. We have taught you how to be explorers to succeed at the unknown and to function well during chaotic and murky moments,” Ammar said, adding that CHSS students have been taught “the habit of attention” and “the art of expression.” They also were taught to acknowledge viewpoints different than theirs, to be open to new experiences and to “color outside the lines,” Ammar added.

In wishing them well, Ammar told the graduates to move ahead with “confidence and humility.”

In remarks that were interrupted numerous times by cheers and applause, student speaker Nydreama McDuffie said she discovered that she is a leader—and a scholar—because of the support and mentorship of CHSS faculty members.

“They not only taught me new things about the world,” said McDuffie, who earned bachelor’s degrees in Africana Studies and International Studies and a minor in Spanish. “But they also challenged me to see myself in a different way. They told me repeatedly that I’m a leader…that I’m a good student…that I have great potential.”

McDuffie encouraged her classmates to seek and make their own opportunities.

“Put yourselves out there in your chosen profession, in your relationships, and in your passions,” McDuffie said. “All of our stories are unique. But what binds us is our ability to make the most of every opportunity and to be resilient when challenges come our way. If you accept and learn from your challenges, you’ll be a better leader for tomorrow.”

During the ceremony, Ammar recognized and thanked outgoing Provost Jim Newell for his leadership. Newell is taking a new position as senior vice president for Medical Affairs and Affiliated Campuses.

Additionally, two faculty members—Law & Justice Studies Professor Natalie Schell-Busey and Psi Iota Fellow in History Glenn McDorman—were awarded the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Four retiring faculty members also were recognized. They included: Joseph Davey, retiring after 22 years with Law & Justice Studies; Tim Viator, retiring from the Department of English after 26 years; and Mary Gallant and David Kasserman, both of whom taught in Sociology & Anthropology. Gallant taught 28 years, while Kasserman taught 47.