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On a bright and balmy spring afternoon, NJPAC burst full of smiles, embraces, and cheers for Rutgers Business School's Undergraduate Newark Class of 2013, whose 540 graduates crossed the stage to receive their Rutgers diploma "granting all the rights, privileges and honors appertaining thereto."

It was the largest class of undergraduate students from Newark in the business school's 84-year history.

"We honor the commitment of the graduates and their loved ones gathered here today and take pride in their achievements and future accomplishments," said Glenn Shafer, Dean of Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick.

Shafer noted that the current graduating class was one of the most diverse in the country. For the 17th consecutive year, Rutgers campus in Newark was ranked the nation's most diverse by U.S. News & World Report.

The convocation ceremony speaker, multi-billion dollar real estate developer R. Donahue Peebles, was named one of the top 10 wealthiest African Americans in the United States by Forbes in 2009. Peebles spoke humbly about his background and admiration for the graduates.

"You finished your degree in the most compelling discipline at Rutgers - business," he said.

Peebles attended Rutgers in 1978-79 to study pre-med but decided to leave school to work in real estate in Washington D.C. "I admire all of you for finishing something I didn't," he said. "I wish I would have majored in business because all the great innovations in society come from business. You are now members of an elite club and your Rutgers Business School diploma is the key to unlocking your future achievements."

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Distinguished Leadership Awards: Rachael Goldman, Dil Radia, Marcus Silva

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