Wednesday, May 27, 2010
Robert V. Van Fossan Theatre
63 Fremont Street, Bloomfield, NJ
Reception to follow in Westminster Arts Center, Room 110
Robert V. Van Fossan Theatre
63 Fremont Street, Bloomfield, NJ
Reception to follow in Westminster Arts Center, Room 110
Thursday, May 28, 2010
Honorary Degree Recipients:
Carla A. Harris
Joyce Carol Oates
The Honorable Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Diana Drysdale - Baccalaurate Speaker
Carla Harris is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management where she heads the Emerging Manager Platform and provides investment advice to corporations, public pension plans, foundations and endowments.
Ms. Harris has been involved in investment banking since 1987 when she began in the Mergers and Acquisitions department at Morgan Stanley. She has risen through the ranks of the company and has been a senior member of the equity syndicate desk, executing initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, General Motors; and the largest biotechnology common stock transaction in U.S. history, the $3.2 billion transaction for Immunex Corporation. She formerly headed the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries and is responsible for Equity Private Placements. She has extensive industry experience in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial and healthcare sectors.
A graduate of Harvard University with an AB in economics magna cum laude, Ms. Harris earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and has received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Marymount Manhattan College.
Among her citations are Fortune Magazine's list of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executive in Corporate America, U.S. Banker Magazine's Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Non-Bank Finance (2009), Black Enterprise Magazine's Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business (2010), Black Enterprise Magazine's Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street, Essence Magazine's The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World, Ebony Magazine's 15 Corporate Women at the Top, Harvard Business Men's Forum Woman of the Year 2004.
Ms. Harris is actively involved in her community and heartily believes that "we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to someone else." As a result, she has funded the Carla Harris Scholarship at Harvard University and at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida.
She is the Chair of the Board of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and sits on the boards of the Food Bank for NYC, The Executive Leadership Council, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), A Better Chance, Inc., The Apollo Theatre Foundation, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Xavier University, Maya Angelou Research for Minority Health and was a member of the Board of Overseers' Committee on University Resources, Harvard University. Ms. Harris is a member of the National Social Action Commission of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She has received the Bert King Award from the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association, the 2005 Women's Professional Achievement Award from Harvard University, the Pierre Toussaint Medallion from the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, the Women of Power Award given by the National Urban League, the Bill and Camille Cosby Award given by Associated Black Charities, the NASP New York's Wall Street Hall of Fame Award, Blazing New Trails Award from the Robert A. Toigo Foundation and many other awards.
In her other life, Ms. Harris is a singer and has released her second CD, a gospel album entitled, Joy Is Waiting, which has been featured on BET Nightly News. Her first CD entitled, Carla's First Christmas, was a bestseller on Amazon.com in New York and in record stores, and was featured on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in his American Dream segment. She is also the author of the newly released book, Expect to Win (Hudson Press). She is an active member of the St. Charles Gospelites of the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Harlem, N.Y. and the Mark Howell Singers whom she invited to sing with her at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Harris has performed in the New York area for over a decade in club appearances, off-off Broadway plays, and fundraisers.
Joyce Carol Oates has often expressed an intense nostalgia for the time and place of her childhood, and her working-class upbringing is lovingly recalled in much of her fiction. Growing up in the countryside outside of Lockport, New York, she attended a one-room schoolhouse in the elementary grades. As a small child, she told stories instinctively by way of drawing and painting before learning how to write. After receiving the gift of a typewriter at age fourteen, she began consciously training herself, "writing novel after novel" throughout high school and college.
Success came early: while attending Syracuse University on scholarship, she won the coveted Mademoiselle fiction contest. After graduating as valedictorian, she earned an M.A. in English at the University of Wisconsin, where she met and married Raymond J. Smith after a three-month courtship. In 1962, the couple settled in Detroit, a city whose erupting social tensions suggested to Oates a microcosm of the violent American reality. Her finest early novel, them, along with a steady stream of other novels and short stories, grew out of her Detroit experience. "Detroit, my 'great' subject," she has written, "made me the person I am, consequently the writer I am - for better or worse."
Between 1968 and 1978, Oates taught at the University of Windsor in Canada. During this immensely productive decade, she published new books at the rate of two or three per year, all the while maintaining a full-time academic career. Oates quickly became one of the most respected and honored writers in the United States. Asked repeatedly how she managed to produce so much excellent work in a wide variety of genres, she gave variations of the same basic answer, telling the New York Times in 1975 that "I have always lived a very conventional life of moderation, absolutely regular hours, nothing exotic, no need, even, to organize my time. Writing and teaching have always been, for me, so richly rewarding that I don't think of them as work in the usual sense of the word."
In 1978, Oates moved to Princeton, New Jersey. She now is the Roger S. Berlind '52 Professor of the Humanities, Professor of Creative Writing in the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Shortly after arriving in Princeton, Oates began writing Bellefleur, the first in a series of ambitious Gothic novels that simultaneously reworked established literary genres and re-imagined large swaths of American history. Published in the early 1980s, these novels marked a departure from the psychological realism of her earlier work. But Oates returned powerfully to the realistic mode with ambitious family chronicles You Must Remember This, Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, novels of female experience: Solstice, and Marya : A Life, and a series of pseudonymous suspense novels published under the name Rosamond Smith. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."
The dramatic trajectory of Oates's career, especially her amazing rise from an economically straitened childhood to her current position as one of the world's most eminent authors, suggests a feminist, literary version of the mythic pursuit and achievement of the American dream. Yet for all her success and fame, Oates's daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast. Not surprisingly, a quotation from that other prolific American writer, Henry James, is affixed to the bulletin board over her desk, and perhaps best expresses her own ultimate view of her life and writing: "We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
William J. Pascrell, Jr. was born on January 25, 1937 in Paterson, New Jersey and has lived in the Silk City all of his life. He was first sworn in to the United States House of Representatives, representing the Eighth Congressional District of New Jersey, in November of 1996 and was sworn into his seventh term in January of 2009.
The grandson of Italian immigrants, Pascrell attended St. George's Elementary School in Paterson and graduated from St. John the Baptist High School, where he was elected student council president. He graduated from Fordham University in New York with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in philosophy. He is a veteran of the United States Army and the Army Reserve.
Pascrell began his professional career as a high school teacher. He was also an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was appointed to the Paterson Board of Education, and served as president of the board. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Passaic County Community College. In 1987, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly. He eventually was elevated to the position of Minority Leader Pro Tempore. In 1990, Pascrell was elected Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey's third largest city. His efforts, both as a mayor and assemblyman, were recognized in 1996 as he was named New Jersey's "Mayor of the Year" by his fellow mayors, and "Legislator of the Year" by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
At the start of the 110th session on Congress, Pascrell, the first member from New Jersey to serve on the committee in over ten years, was selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the exclusive Ways and Means Committee.
Pascrell is a champion for first responders and is considered a nationally recognized leader on the issue of fire safety. He authored the F.I.R.E. (Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement) Act, now titled the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is a comprehensive federal commitment to fire departments. It is administered by the Department of Homeland Security and delivers federal dollars directly to career, combination, and volunteer fire departments. Due to his extensive knowledge, the House leadership appointed Pascrell to the House Committee on Homeland Security which was created to oversee the implementation of the landmark Homeland Security Act of 2002.
He has served on the House Transportation Committee and worked towards the modernization of roads, bridges, airports and mass transit systems, securing funding to reconstruct the more dangerous thoroughfares. He crafted legislation to renew federal surface transportation programs which supports the expansion of mass transportation in Northern New Jersey. In 2003, Pascrell was chosen by his House Democratic colleagues to be a regional whip within the Democratic Caucus leadership team which helps frame the Democratic Caucus' policy agenda in the House.
Most recently, Pascrell was named Outstanding Legislator of the Year by the Department of New Jersey Jewish War Veterans as well as the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars. In May of 1999, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from William Paterson University for his "humanitarian attitude, zealous commitment to the people of his region, leadership, steadfast persistence and consequent accomplishments." Pascrell has also received the Humanitarian Award from the New Jersey State Fireman's Mutual Benevolent Association and was presented with a Special Recognition from the Brain Injury Association of America for his leadership in establishing the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. He has also been recognized by Ceasefire New Jersey for his efforts to reduce gun violence in New Jersey communities.
Diana L. Drysdale was named Vice President, Renewables for PSEG Energy Holdings in February of 2010. In this capacity she is responsible for the strategic growth and operations of the company’s unregulated solar subsidiary.
Ms. Drysdale brings broad experience in the Energy and Utilities sector in both regulated and unregulated businesses in the US and Canada. Since joining PSEG in May of 2008, Ms. Drysdale has worked developing the unregulated solar business which includes investment in three utility scale solar facilities to date making Solar Source a recognized leader in solar development in the US. Before joining PSEG, Ms. Drysdale led the Enterprise Risk Management efforts at Northeast Utilities where she delivered a highly effective integrated ERM framework for both the regulated and unregulated energy businesses. She worked for seven years with ENMAX Corporation where she held the positions of VP of Strategy and Risk Management and VP and Treasurer. At ENMAX she played a key role in the successful growth of the company which included a number of renewable energy endeavors. Ms. Drysdale also worked for TransAlta Corporation for seven years in various engineering and management roles which included significant experience with the company’s coal fired generation plants.
Ms. Drysdale holds a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada; an MBA from Queen's School of Business in Ontario Canada; and has completed the Finance for Senior Executives program from Harvard Business School. Since 1993 she has been a licensed professional engineer with the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta. She has served on several boards in both the US and Canada and has been a member of the Bloomfield College Board of Trustees in New Jersey since 2008.
Bloomfield College celebrates the Class of 2010
Bloomfield College’s 137th Commencement exercises were held on May 27, 2010. Heralded by the South Park and District Pipes and Drum Corps, headed by Bloomfield College alumnus Andy Dickson'96, 279 students marched up Liberty Street to the Quad to receive either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree.
After greetings by President Richard Levao, the students, families, and guests were treated to three inspirational speeches by the honorary degree recipients: Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-8th District), Carla Harris, and Joyce Carol Oates.
Congressman Pascrell told the graduates that they are tomorrow's leaders and that they should prepare to challenge accepted protocol and norms rather than to accept the status quo. "You are our new leaders," he said. "Challenge the norm and look beyond it to offer new ideas. Have faith in your education and do not accept the unacceptable." Pascrell was given an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Carla Harris, a managing director for Morgan Stanley and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, told the graduates to maximize their success by optimizing their own power through choosing leadership, recovering from mistakes by learning, and owning their own power through their own belief in themselves. She asked the students to repeat the following phrase, "Fear has no place in my success equation." Her final challenge to the audience was "Expect to have an extraordinary life – expect to win."
Author and professor Joyce Carol Oates, recipient of an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts noted that she, much like many of the graduates, was the first in her family to graduate college. “She challenged the students to "do what you do well, then learn how to do it better." She spoke of maintaining energy, industry and a prevailing sense of humor throughout life and told the class to tell themselves that they will always persevere.
The senior speaker, former Bloomfield resident Jalikatu Mustapha, who just returned from Washington DC after a semester as a White House intern, recalled the student experience of having people who believed in them, who raised the bar, and who consistently helped them over academic and person bumps in the road. She said, "Look inside yourself. Never forget the feeling you have now of pride and completion. We take this walk not only for ourselves, but for every family member who has not or could not. We are unstoppable."
After receiving their hoods and diplomas, the new graduates were greeted by John Delucca'66, president of the Bloomfield College Alumni Association and vice chair of the trustees. He welcomed them to the elite group of Bloomfield College alumni and challenged them to always remember where they came from and where they got their start in life.
To the tune Ode to Joy, the members of the class of 2010 exited into the waiting arms of family and friends and on to the next step in their journeys.