NJIT’s 2009 Commencement Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 16, 2009, at the Prudential Center, Newark from 9 a.m.-noon. During the ceremony, more than 2,000 honorary doctoral degrees and earned doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees will be conferred on the Class of 2009.
The Honorable Cory A. Booker, the Mayor of Newark, will speak and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. Booker took the oath of office as Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city on July 1, 2006 following a sweeping electoral victory. He is just the third person to govern the city since 1970. A native of northern New Jersey, Booker’s passion for politics and justice was instilled at an early age by a family committed to change.
Philanthropist, astronaut and entrepreneur Bernard Harris, MD, of Houston, will receive an honorary doctor of science. Harris is the veteran of two space shuttle missions and was the first African-American to walk in space. In education circles, he’s known for the Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, a two-week opportunity to encourage middle school students to pursue a career in science or related fields. NJIT has been the only New Jersey venue for this program, fully-supported by both Harris’ own Foundation and ExxonMobil. Harris is also CEO of Vesalius Ventures, a venture capital firm in Houston focused in medical informatics and technology (or telemedicine).
Vincent Naimoli, of Florida, founder and chairman emeritus of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and an NJIT alumnus, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. Naimoli, who grew up in Paterson, is chairman, president and CEO of Anchor Industries International, Tampa, and chairman, president and CEO of Naimoli Baseball Enterprises. He entered the national spotlight last fall when the Bay Rays, a team he had nurtured for almost a decade, played in the World Series. Among baseball owners, Naimoli is known for his focus on the game, especially its welfare. He has served on Major League Baseball’s committees for international relations, legislative affairs and equal opportunity. Among his degrees, Naimoli received a master of science in mechanical engineering from NJIT in 1962.