Professional Basketball Player Essence Carson Helps Celebrate Convocation

Carson encouraged the University’s new students to make the most of their opportunities

Essence Carson, a professional basketball player for the New York Liberty, encouraged the University’s new students to make the most of their opportunities during her address at the University’s Convocation ceremony on September 19 in Shea Center. The annual ceremony welcomes the incoming freshman class as they begin their academic life at William Paterson.

“Someone here today has 50 followers on Twitter; technology can allow you to increase your reach exponentially.  Are you ready for your story to be told?” she asked. “What better place to do things worth writing about then here at William Paterson University? This is your chance, your opportunity to lay the groundwork to be notable entrepreneurs, movers, and shakers.”

Carson grew up in Paterson, where she excelled as both a musician and at sports.  “As a kid, I dreamed of being a lawyer, a doctor, a movie star,” she said.  “In a city filled with drugs, gangs and violence, the odds were always stacked against me. But I believed in my own vision.”  She went on to Rutgers University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in music while playing on the women’s basketball team, which played in the NCAA national championship game in 2007. She was drafted by the WNBA in 2008.

“The bumps in the road may deter you,” she said, recounting some of the highs and lows of her professional career, including a recent injury that ended her season.  “That’s when true character is revealed.  You gain strength, courage, and confidence from every fear you face.”

The ceremony also included remarks by President Kathleen Waldron; Provost Warren Sandmann; Michael Blizzard ’07, a member of the Alumni Executive Council; and Martin Novak, a political science major and executive vice president of the Student Government Association.