Graduation Stories: Rutgers Vice Chancellor of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion speaks on the Class of 2018 as he steps down from his position
Jorge Schement has been the vice chancellor of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Rutgers for the last five years, and announced this semester that he will be stepping down and returning to teaching in the School of Communication and Information next semester.
He shared some words about the Class of 2018, a class he has worked alongside during his tenure as vice chancellor.
“Rutgers students, it doesn't matter what assignment you give them, they’re going to do it,” he said. “And whatever deadline you give them they’re going to get it in on time.”
He described Rutgers students and the Class of 2018 as assertive, hardworking, intelligent and as students who act on their values. For example, he said he recently went to an event hosted by the Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service, where students presented projects on food insecurity in Middlesex County.
“… And the creativity they showed and the difficulty of some of the projects they took on was also quite remarkable,” he said. “I’m really quite taken by kids who put their values up front and decide to do something about it. And what it tells me is that they’re going to be that way the rest of their lives.”
As Schement steps down from his role as vice chancellor, he said he is excited to go back to teaching large lecture halls in the School of Communication and Information — something he made a career of earlier.
As he steps forward into another phase of his career, Schement offered advice to graduates who will be stepping across the stage at High Point Solutions Stadium today and into a new part of their lives, and reflected on the opportunities Rutgers offers them.
New Jersey is a big place where people have to be competitive, and Rutgers is also a big place where students have to learn to be competitive too, he said. He explained that the University provides good training for later in life, as students learn to deal with big systems and a variety of people.
“I think they’re going to be facing challenges of replacement by technology, and they’re going to be facing challenges of entrepreneurship — how do you create new places, new markets, new professional niches and an economy that’s going to revolve around professions and technology,” Schement said about real-world challenges today’s graduates have to consider.
He said Rutgers students should invest in their education, and make education a lifelong passion. He explained that the better Rutgers gets the more it can continue to benefit students down the line, whether it is through future children attending the University, Rutgers economic benefits to the state of New Jersey or through an engaging and supportive alumni network.
“So don’t see yourself as walking away from it, see yourself as having a lifelong relationship,” Schement said.