Even in the Rain, the Class of 2024 Shines at Commencement

A group of graduates in regalia smile for a photo.

(Photo: Brian Lewis)

By Kenna Caprio

May 15, 2024 — Rain couldn’t put a damper on Commencement celebrations today as more than 2,500 students graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The University’s 81st Commencement ceremony streamed live on the web and was held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Watch the Commencement Ceremony

Amid a sea of ponchos and umbrellas, students, administrators, and honored guests offered wise words and heartfelt expressions of gratitude to the Class of 2024.

Students in ponchos and holding umbrellas line up to hear their names called at graduation.

(Photo: Brian Lewis)

“No matter your passion, no matter your profession, no matter the critics or doubters, I urge you to stay true to your hearts, believe in yourselves and let your work ethic and character always stand out,” said University President Michael Avaltroni in his opening remarks.

A screenshot of a Tweet that reads: It’s raining but that’s just weather. NOTHING can dampen the pride we feel for our grads! #fdugrad @FDUWhatsNew. Photo shows a crowd of graduates.

Student Pinnacle Award recipients Medjina Milfort, representing the Metropolitan Campus, and Michelle Schultheis, representing the Florham Campus, addressed their fellow graduates. Helen Ham, the Vancouver Pinnacle Award recipient, spoke at the Vancouver Campus graduation ceremony on May 1.

“As we leave here today, never forget that you will always have someone here at FDU to support you, even in times when it feels like you are alone,” said Milfort. “It is my hope that everyone here takes the FDU spirit with them and uses it to transform whatever field or career they choose.”

“We all have a purpose here. I encourage you all to open yourselves and your hearts up to the beautiful and countless possibilities that lie ahead,” said Schultheis. “Class of 2024, congratulations — we did it!”

Two students are all smiles at graduation. One student is making a peace sign.

(Photo: Brian Lewis)

Stephen Klasko, a former university president, health care system CEO, dean of two medical schools and practicing physician — and current author and entrepreneur, received an honorary degree at the ceremony. He has dedicated his career to the creative and optimistic transformation of health care and higher education. As president of Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health from 2013–2021, Klasko led one of the nation’s fastest-growing academic health institutions.

“When you wake up in the morning and someone tells you that good is good enough or that transformational change is impossible, I hope that you’ll laugh, tie the shoelaces on your sneakers and try that much harder for impossible, or at least heretically optimistic transformations of the world you live in and your role in it,” said Klasko.

Students in the Class of 2024 represent 36 states and 54 countries.

Hugs all around for graduates!

(Photo: Brian Lewis)

Avaltroni concluded the festivities and said, “Graduates, go forward with courage and grace — fortiter et suaviter — carrying with you the traditions, strengths, and dreams of this great institution. Go forth to seize your moment and change your world.”

Relive Commencement 2024


An infographic lists the top five graduate and undergraduate degrees represented in the Class of 2024.

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