The Office of the Provost announced via email on April 6 that the United States Treasurer, Jovita Carranza, will deliver the keynote address at Seton Hall’s baccalaureate commencement ceremony on May 21.
Dr. Karen Boroff, the interim provost of Seton Hall, said that the administration wanted to make sure that this year’s graduation had a keynote speaker after last year’s graduating class voiced a strong interest in having one.
Boroff shared that the university reached out to Carranza about two months ago. The reason the school asked her to be the keynote speaker was because she “comports with Seton Hall’s mission.” Boroff also said that Dr. Mary Meehan, the interim president of Seton Hall, knew Carranza.
Boroff shared what she hopes graduating seniors get from Carranza’s speech.
“We want our students to see themselves in the speaker,” she said. “I hope she shares with the Class of 2018 the importance of being nimble in their career journey. It’s okay if you’re not quite sure where you’re going to be in five years.”
Boroff then said how SHU seniors’ studies line up with what Carranza will say.
“By virtue of the core, all our students have taken Journey of Transformation, so I hope they see how her journey has transformed her and what we all can learn from that,” Boroff said.
Boroff concluded by suggesting that the current junior class should start thinking of who they would like to speak at their graduation next year, as the administration is always willing to consider student suggestions.
Anna Bondi, a senior diplomacy and international relations major, said that she had mixed feelings about Carranza speaking at graduation.
“On one hand, her background of starting at UPS and working her way up to being U.S. Treasurer is fantastic,” she said. “I disagree strongly with the administration she works with, specifically Mnuchin, her direct boss. Her connection to the current administration definitely detracts from her appeal and I would have liked to see someone who is not affiliated or even someone who is not even outwardly political.”
Bondi did say that despite her negative feelings toward the Trump administration, she is happy to have a keynote speaker at all.
Mike Cappelluti, a senior marketing major, commented on Carranza being chosen as this year’s commencement speaker.
“As a freshman, I witnessed how frustrated seniors were about not having a commencement speaker, so I do not think I am in any sort of position to say I am not pleased with Jovita Carranza as the commencement speaker,” he said. “I am extremely excited to have a speaker at all, and while the name did not immediately jump out at me as the most exciting, after doing a bit of a research, I am sure Carranza will have some great words of wisdom to share with us.”
Cappelluti said that he thinks fellow seniors who may not be pleased with the choice of Carranza as commencement speaker should be realistic.
“I think it’s easy to look around at nearby schools — like Rutgers, lets say — and wonder why our speakers aren’t past presidents or big-time CEOs, but the reality of the situation is that we are not a giant public school with a bottomless budget,” he said.
Cappelluti concluded by reminding seniors of what’s important.
“We’ll just have to settle for the fact that, yes, we are still better at basketball than Rutgers,” he said. “But they’ll probably always have us beat for commencement speakers.”
Isabel Soisson can be reacehd at firstname.lastname@example.org.