College Celebrates 40th Commencement Sept. 22 at Sun National Bank Center

September 20, 2012

Dr. George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College, at Commencement.

Dr. George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College, at Commencement.

TRENTON, N.J. – Thomas Edison State College is celebrating its 40th Commencement on Saturday, Sept. 22, by holding the ceremony at the Sun National Bank Center to accommodate the largest graduating class in the school’s 40-year history.

In 1973, Thomas Edison State College held its first Commencement at the New Jersey State Museum Auditorium, which included 70 graduates in the inaugural class. This year, 3,217 graduates are in the 2012 class and 520 of those graduates are expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony at the Sun National Bank Center.

The Honors Convocation for students who earned academic awards and are being inducted into an honor society is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. The main Commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

John J. Peruggia, assistant chief and continuity program manager at the Fire Department of New York and a resident of Old Bridge, N.J., is giving the response for graduates. Peruggia earned a 3.94 grade point average while completing his Master of Science in Management degree and Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership. In addition, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree in Emergency Disaster Management from the college in 2008.

The college will also award an honorary degree to Robert E. Campbell, former vice chairman of Johnson and Johnson; Campbell is past chairman and trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Fordham University and also past trustee and chairman of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is past chairman of the Advisory Council of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a member of the Advisory Council for University of Notre Dame’s College of Science and an overseer of The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Over the years, Campbell has been a strong advocate of the arts and was also active on the boards of many organizations including Rutgers University Graduate School of Management, St. Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick Affiliated Hospitals, The Seeing Eye, the Cerebral Palsy Association, Catholic Charities, The Francis E. Parker Memorial Home, Cancer Care and the NJN Foundation.

The college will also present distinguished service awards to former New Jersey State Librarian Norma Blake, who retired as New Jersey State Librarian in July; and Dr. Susan McMullen O’Brien, who retired as dean of the College’s W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing in July and now serves as associate provost of Special Projects.

This year marks the third year that Thomas Edison State College graduates will wear gowns made from recycled plastic bottles and the second year where they will have the opportunity to return the gowns to be recycled into other products.

The college has awarded more than 40,000 degrees since it began providing flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults in 1972.

About Thomas Edison State College
Thomas Edison State College provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults. One of New Jersey’s 12 senior public institutions of higher education, the College offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 100 areas of study. Students earn degrees through a wide variety of rigorous and high-quality academic methods that can be customized to meet their individual needs. Identified by Forbes magazine as one of the top 20 colleges and universities in the nation in the use of technology to create learning opportunities for adults, Thomas Edison State College is a national leader in the assessment of adult learning and a pioneer in the use of educational technologies. The College is home to The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy. The New Jersey State Library is an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College. Further information about admission to the College may be obtained by calling (888) 442-8372, via e-mail at or by visiting