ICYMI: President Obama to speak at Rutgers commencement


Spring 2016 Semester Recap


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Photo by Marielle Sumergido |

November 2015 | Obama last visited Rutgers in November, when he spoke to the Rutgers-Newark community.


On its historic 250th anniversary, the University will be setting a new milestone. For the first time in the school’s history, a sitting president will address Rutgers' graduating seniors.

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, accepted the many invitations sent to him by the University, its students and New Jersey legislators.

University President Robert L. Barchi called Obama’s decision a "testament to the enthusiastic efforts of Rutgers students, faculty, staff, alumni and Board members,” praising the Rutgers community on its persistence in urging the president to attend.

“We are deeply honored that President Obama will take part in this milestone event for the University,” he said wrote in an email to the Rutgers community. “We look forward to having President Obama join us on this most celebratory occasion for Rutgers.”

More than 12,000 students from across Rutgers’ 22 academic units will attend Obama’s May 15 speech at High Point Solutions Stadium on Busch campus. In addition to a ticket for themselves, each of those students will receive three guest tickets.

Following requests from Rutgers—Newark and Rutgers—Camden students, 4,000 students from the other Rutgers campuses will be able to attend. These students will receive tickets only for themselves.

Details about commencement are still being finalized, though the University has announced that it will depart from its regular bag policy and not allow any kind of bag to be brought into the event.

Obama’s acceptance came roughly one week after award-winning journalist Bill Moyers was announced as this year’s commencement speaker.

Some Rutgers students were dissatisfied with the University’s choice of speaker. Some even signed a petition demanding a new commencement speaker.

Moyers will now speak at the School of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony. He and astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell will also be presented with honorary degrees.

“I think you’ll find (Moyers) very insightful," Barchi said. "He’s a man who’s won numerous, numerous awards and honorary degrees … and has seen an incredible amount in this country and around the world."


This article is part of our Spring 2016 Perspectives edition. Find the full issue here.

Nikita Biryukov is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. He is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikitabiryukov_ for more.


Nikita Biryukov

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