Commencement Caps Off Celebratory Week for 2018 SPAA Graduates

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Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony and SPAA Graduation Celebration
PhD Hooding Ceremony

On Monday, May 14, more than 175 School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) graduates received their degrees during Rutgers University–Newark’s (RU-N) commencement ceremony at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. SPAA Assistant Professor Lindsey McDougle led the procession as the ceremony’s marshal, with the Chancellor’s Office and RU-N faculty in tow. Associate Professor Stephanie Newbold carried the gonfalon for SPAA. The commencement address was delivered by award-winning actress, singer, rapper, and humanitarian Queen Latifah, who emphasized the importance of home and returning to the places that shaped the graduates into the people they have become.

Prior to commencement, SPAA recognized its graduates in a PhD Hooding Ceremony (held on May 11), Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony (held on May 12) and Graduation Celebration (held on May 12).

A total of 42 students were inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for public administration, and the students and their guests joined SPAA faculty and staff in toasting the new inductees. Congressman Donald Payne Jr. of New Jersey’s 10th District was inducted as an honorary Pi Alpha Alpha member.

The SPAA Graduation Celebration that followed recognized all of SPAA’s graduates in addition to the 2018 SPAA Award Winners:
Outstanding BA Student: Mohamed Abdelghany (BA’18)
Outstanding MPA Student: Rabia Arikan (MPA’18)
Outstanding PhD Student: Dr. Andrew Ballard (PhD’18)
E. Godfrey Drexel Award: Bernadette Carter (MPA’18) and Anqiang Li (MPA’18)
Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic Excellence: Dr. Kaifeng Yang (PhD’03)
Distinguished Alumni Award for Practitioner Excellence: Virgil Simons (MPA’08)
Faculty Teaching Award: Dr. Rachel Emas, Assistant Teaching Professor
Faculty Service Award: Dr. Madinah Hamidullah, Associate Research Professor
Staff Award: Dr. Melissa Rivera, Associate Dean for Finance, Technology, and Administration

The celebration’s student speaker was Mohamed Abdelghany, who described the significance of his family’s support in driving him to succeed and urged his fellow graduates to support each other in their journeys.

“We are graduates of SPAA. That means we are driven by a greater purpose than money - whether its politics, policy, or people. I will hold myself, and all of you, to a higher standard. Brothers and sisters, remember that the table is big enough for all of us to eat. If it is not, promise me we will fight, together, for a bigger table,” Abdelghany said.

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