SMLR Proudly Celebrates the Class of 2016
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) held its 13th annual Convocation at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on May 14, 2016. More than 450 students attended the event, with a total of 800 students receiving their degrees from the school.

SMLR Dean James Hayton led the ceremony, which included inspirational speeches by representatives from each of the school's academic programs who are among the Class of 2016. Speakers included Erica Akitani-Bob from the bachelor's program in labor studies and employment relations (LSER), Evan Murphy from the bachelor's program in human resource management (HRM), Niki Patel from the master's program in human resource management (MHRM), and Talia Schank from the master's program in labor and employment relations (MLER).

"I want us to keep in mind that we have chosen professions in which we can make sure that policies and practices aren't meaningless," said Schank to her fellow graduates.

Top, from left: Ericka Akitani-Bob, LSER '16 and Evan Murphy, HRM '16.
Bottom, from left: Talia Schank, MLER '16 and Niki Patel, MHRM '16

Schank's sentiment was echoed by SMLR alumna Lisa Goldey, Esq., LSER '93, who is senior vice president for total rewards at Bristol Myers Squibb. Goldey was honored earlier in the day for her generosity and enduring support of SMLR. She also served as a guest speaker during the Convocation, giving insight into the challenges and opportunities she faced along her career pathway.

Professor David Ferio, director of the master's program in human resource management, was honored during the ceremony as the recipient of the James R. Chelius Award for Excellence in Teaching. Named in honor of the late HRM Professor James Chelius who taught at SMLR for 15 years, the Chelius Award recognizes a professor who teaches in the master's program in HRM and showcases a strong command of his/her subject area, fosters innovative knowledge integration into the classroom, and expands students' knowledge outside of the classroom. The recipient is selected by MHRM students. 

Several SMLR alumni and friends served as marshalls and gonfalon bearers. They included Amy Bahruth, LSER '86 and SMLR instructor; Janice DiLella, MHRM '11 and MLER '10; Michael Dragun, LSER '94 and director of human resources at New World Aviation; Betzaida (Betsy) Feliciano-Berrios, MPA '06 and associate dean at Rutgers' University College Community; and Gregorio Rodriguez, HRM '15, MHRM '16. 

From left: SMLR Professor David Ferio and Lisa Goldey, Esq., LSER '93

The graduates now join a powerful network of more than 470,000 Rutgers alumni worldwide. Niki Patel gave critical advice to her peers as they move onto the next phase in their lives.

"Conquer the world by saying yes. Say yes to your new world, new challenges, and new experiences. Be the ambassadors of change," said Patel.

Congratulations to the class of 2016!

View more photos on SMLR's Facebook page.

Learn about sisters Quinnetta and Bridgette Williams, who both received degrees in labor and employment relations during this year's Convocation.