Stockton University Graduates to Receive Degrees at Dec. 18 Commencement Ceremony

For Immediate Release

Contact:         Maryjane Briant
                        News and Media Relations Director                       
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205
                        (609) 652-4593

Galloway, N.J. - President Harvey Kesselman will preside over a Baccalaureate Commencement ceremony at Stockton University on Sunday, Dec. 18,  which will include a keynote address by Sonia Gonsalves, director of Academic Assessment and professor of Psychology, who has been a mentor to many faculty and students in her 25 years at Stockton and a leader in diversity and assessment work.

Nearly 700 undergraduate and graduate candidates are slated to receive degrees this month.  Undergraduates will participate in the ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. in the Sports Center on the Galloway campus. Master’s and doctoral graduates will participate in a commencement ceremony held in May 2017.

This is expected to be Stockton’s last December Commencement, as the university plans to hold future ceremonies in May at Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall. The May 12, 2017 graduation will highlight Stockton’s commitment to Atlantic City, where a new campus is being built.

Over her career, Gonsalves has served as the director of the Institute for the Study of College Teaching, director of the Institute for Faculty Development, interim associate provost for Personnel, Programs and Policy, and coordinator of the Psychology Program.  She currently serves as the co-chair of the 2020 Learning Team and on the 2020 Steering Committee.

She was the recipient of the 2012 Professor of the Year award for Social and Behavioral Sciences and more recently she was presented with a special tribute award for outstanding service from the Council of Black Faculty and Staff.     

She is the chair of the college-wide assessment committee and has presented her scholarly work on assessment and faculty development at regional, national and international conferences.

In collaboration with Stockton colleagues, Gonsalves has been instrumental in securing diversity and assessment grants, including the multi-year Bildner Campus Diversity Initiative, the Pleasantville Afterschool community grant, and a Teagle Foundation assessment grant.  Gonsalves helped to design and introduce the “Diversity Issues” freshman seminar with its cultural apprenticeship component and the follow-up course “Transcending Differences,” for more advanced students.  She currently serves on the Diversity Committee.

Maryam Sarhan, president of the Student Senate and a senior from Somers Point, N.J., will give the student address. Sarhan, who served as a student member of the Board of Trustees in 2015-16, is pursuing a degree in Political Science. She recently was recognized for an outstanding position paper she co-authored at the Model U.N. in Japan, where she worked with students representing members of the European Union and allies to formulate a resolution that strengthened existing mechanisms to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

Margaret Lewis, professor of Biology, will be the faculty grand marshal. Lewis, a paleontologist, is an international expert on pre-historic carnivores. Discover Magazine ranked her paleontology research as #28 in its Top 100 Science Stories of 2015. She co-authored papers describing the oldest fossil representative of our genus, Homo, and its environmental and geological context, which pushed back the age of humankind by 400,000 years - to 2.8 million years ago.

Rabbi Aaron Krauss of Beth El Synagogue in Margate, N.J., a former trustee and faculty member who was instrumental in Stockton’s founding, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremonies.