Overcoming challenges prepares Class of 2024 for future

With all the pomp and circumstance expected and warranted, Rutgers Business School – New Brunswick conferred over 1,600 degrees to the Class of 2024 with a capacity crowd cheering in Jersey Mike’s Arena on the Rutgers University – Livingston campus.

Marketing major Natalie Ligotino sang an impressive acapella national anthem to thunderous applause.
Marketing major Natalie Ligotino sang an impressive acapella national anthem to thunderous applause.

Chancellor Francine Conway encouraged the graduates to reflect on what brought them to graduate from Rutgers Business School, the challenges they overcame and the grace under pressure they have demonstrated. She quoted William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims, in her advice to the graduates. She told the graduates to continue making their lives meaningful and rewarding with Ward’s Principles of Grace: Gratitude, Resilience, Aspiration, Courage, and Empathy.

Chancellor Francine Conway
Chancellor Francine Conway.

Dean Lei Lei continued the theme of looking back and forward. “Class of 2024, you have faced challenges,” she said. “The pandemic moved classes online, but you persevered from a virtual high school graduation to be here today.” Lei cited some recent rankings and told the graduates, “You can compete with any graduate from any school.” She also encouraged the graduates to examine the newly installed RBS alum installation in 100 Rock, showcasing 653 senior and CEO-level executives.

Dean Lei Lei
Dean Lei Lei.

Joe Stinziano, President & Chief Operating Officer of First Orion, gave the convocation address. First Orion is one of the fastest-growing telecommunications technology providers, with over 400 employees worldwide, building industry-leading communication solutions. Before joining First Orion, Stinziano was the Corporate Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics. Stinziano has established Samsung as a market leader in technology innovations. He earned a BSEE from the College of Engineering at Rutgers University.

A longtime friend of RBS, Stinziano spoke with Rutgers Business School marketing students during the Business Leader Speaker Series - Spring 2018. In 2020, he and Phil Cohn of Samsung provided an engaging discussion webinar: Resilient Leadership: How to Manage Through Crisis. A 2018 interview with Stinziano about the Internet of Things was published in the Rutgers Business Review. 

Stinziano told the Class of 2024 that overcoming their difficulties will serve them well in their futures. “You were not served the world on a silver platter,” he said. “You have had to work hard; you earned your opportunities. Only later will you fully recognize the value of your Rutgers degree.”

Joe Stinziano, President & Chief Operating Officer of First Orion
Joe Stinziano, President & Chief Operating Officer of First Orion.

Stinziano shared a combative experience during negotiations between two major corporations. Someone tried to insult him, and he shot back a piercing barb. “I felt bad for doing that,” he said. “I embarrassed him, and I embarrassed myself. It was not productive. I learned that productive conversations require us to attempt to understand, not convince. 

Rutgers Business School Governing Association President Jonathan Bellinghausen’s Farewell Address echoed some of Stinziano's words. “Class of 2024, we have demonstrated that we have the resourcefulness to take on the responsibility to make the world better.”

Jonathan Bellinghausen
Jonathan Bellinghausen.
Rutgers Business School Class of 2024.
Rutgers Business School Class of 2024.

Press: For all media inquiries see our Media Kit