Founding Dean Deirdre Yates and the faculty of the College of Communication and the Arts, together with the guests of 37 graduates, gathered on the evening of May 16, 2019, to celebrate the College's fourth annual Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony in the Jubilee Hall Auditorium. Cheers echoed throughout the auditorium as the graduating students from the College's Graduate Studies programs were hooded to acknowledge the completion of their Master’s degrees.
The event began with a reception hosted by the Office of the Dean for the graduates, who gathered with their fellow graduating classmates before the ceremony. Maxwell Rowe, an M.A. in Strategic Communication graduate, shared that he is thankful for his student experience at Seton Hall.
"My graduate experience at Seton Hall has given me the opportunity to grow in my professional and academic career," Rowe shared. "By presenting information-training sessions, asking critical questions in the classroom and performing and defending original research, I have a greater appreciation and understanding of the immense force of communication and its role in so many areas of life."
Following the reception, the degree candidates from the College of Communication and the Arts were announced and hooded by their respective program faculty, including Renee Robinson, Ph.D.; Ruth Tsuria, Ph.D.; Professor Gregory Stevens; and Kristen Koehler, Ed.D.
This was also a special occasion for the Museum Professions program, as it presented its Experiential Learning Award to Erin Benz. Benz was honored for her work at the Montclair History Center, where she helped conduct inventory and catalog objects, lending a hand in the improvement of its research facilities.
This year, the event showcased two student speakers: Hannah Gaston, an M.A. in Museum Professions graduate, and Olivia Lason, an M.A. in Public Relations graduate. The speakers shared anecdotes from their journeys at Seton Hall with their fellow graduates and spoke of how their advanced degrees will impact their future careers.
Lason congratulated her fellow graduates and said, "We've made it to this moment, and we're all proud to be here together." She added, "We've gone outside of our comfort zones to challenge ourselves to be the best, and then more."
Gaston complemented Lason's sentiments and added, "We are embarking on a new adventure in our lives, and while it may feel a little bit like we are wandering, we are not lost. In fact, we have never been more found. We are ready to take on the real world. Our professors have made sure we are ready for this."
Founding Dean Deirdre Yates also shared parting words of wisdom with the new graduates, "You may have faced, or will face, a mountain during your time at the University or in your life. Remember to be tenacious and to be a guide for others."
Following the ceremony, some graduates gathered to participate in the time-honored tradition of stepping on the University seal. A beloved and unique custom passed on through generations of the Seton Hall community, it is a practice upheld by graduates of the University as a farewell to the school after completing their degrees.
After the ceremony, Dr. Ryan Hudes, assistant dean, added, "The Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony is a special, annual occasion that showcases our graduates and serves as a time to recognize their academic achievements. I wish each graduate success in their future endeavors."
The College currently offers three graduate-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.