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March 4, 2014, volume 4, number 7

To the William Paterson University Community

I am pleased to announce that Kevin Burkhardt, a broadcaster for Fox Sports and SNY and a 1997 graduate of William Paterson University, will deliver the keynote address at the University’s 2014 Commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 14, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. We are delighted that this successful alumnus and rising star in sports journalism will speak to our graduates and their families on this very important occasion.  Mr. Burkhardt joined Fox Sports in 2013 as one of the play-by-play announcers for The NFL on Fox.  He has also been the field reporter for the New York Mets on SportsNet New York (SNY) since 2007.  Prior to joining SNY, he covered all sports for WFAN-Radio, reported for Time Warner Cable, and worked as an afternoon sports anchor at WCBS-AM 880 Radio.  He began his broadcasting career right on our campus, covering Pioneer athletic events for the campus television channel.

We will also present honorary doctoral degrees to three individuals who have each had a unique and significant impact.

Dr. Mary Mundinger, dean of the School of Nursing at Columbia University from 1988 to 2010, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.  During her tenure as dean, Dr. Mundinger developed the first doctor of nursing practice program in the country in 2004, so it is especially fitting that we honor Dr. Mundinger as we will be awarding our first doctorates to the eleven inaugural graduates of our doctor of nursing practice program at the ceremony. Currently dean emerita at Columbia, where she is the Edward M. Kennedy Professor of Health Policy, Dr. Mundinger has served on the board of directors of United Health Group and Gentiva Health Services and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the American Academy of Nursing, and the New York Academy of Medicine.

Renowned jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli will receive an honorary doctor of fine arts degree. Mr. Pizzarelli, who is a native of Paterson, has been a fixture on the jazz scene for more than six decades.  He began his career with the Vaughn Monroe Dance Band before a stint in the military, and later was a staff musician for NBC, a member of the band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and toured with Benny Goodman.  He continues to perform and record, including with his son, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli.  Mr. Pizzarelli has maintained a longtime collaboration with the University’s Jazz Studies Program, including many years as an adjunct professor, and performs regularly at the University. 

Finally, we are delighted to present Robert Taylor, who served on the Board of Trustees for 22 years, with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.  Mr. Taylor retired from the board in 2012 after serving with distinction as board chair, vice chair, and chair of the finance, audit, and institutional development committee, and the nominations and governance committee.  He was elected the board’s first trustee emeritus in recognition of his commitment to the leadership of the University and for his impact on higher education in the state, as well as his success in the business sector.  A mechanical engineer, Mr. Taylor worked for four decades for Bell Telephone Laboratories and AT&T, rising to become the vice president for engineering, design and construction for AT&T Resource Management, from which he retired in 1987.

I would like to thank the faculty and staff who comprise the Committee on Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degrees for their diligence and work throughout the year reviewing recommendations and making nominations for both the speaker and honorary degree recipients. We are very proud that these four individuals will join us on Commencement day and we look forward to a wonderful celebration with our graduates.


Kathleen Waldron



William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road, Wayne, New Jersey 07470     973-720-2222     president@wpunj.edu