KINGSTON, R.I. — March 30, 2011 — Known for his innovative ideas and bold actions, Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., will speak to the thousands of students, professors and families who will gather at the University of Rhode Island’s 125th undergraduate commencement ceremonies.
In making the announcement URI President David M. Dooley said: “We are delighted that Mayor Cory Booker will return to our campus to speak with graduates and their families as they celebrate their achievements. When the mayor spoke in the fall as part of our Honors Colloquium, he captivated the audience with his philosophy of how people have the power to transform the world. He is an inspiring speaker with a passion for social justice and change.”
In recognition of Booker’s unique contributions to his state and to the nation, he will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters during the commencement ceremony at noon on Sunday, May 22, 2011.
Mayor of Newark since 2006, Booker immediately rolled up his sleeves to transform New Jersey’s largest city by marshalling its resources to achieve security, economic health, and a nurturing environment. Now in his second term, Booker oversaw a restructuring of the city’s police department that helped Newark lead the nation in reductions of shootings and murders. In March of 2010, Newark experienced its first murder-free month in more than 40 years.
Booker’s political career began in 1998, after serving as staff attorney for the Urban Justice Center in Newark. He rose to prominence as Newark’s Central Ward councilman. During his four years of service from 1998-2002, then-Councilman Booker earned a reputation as a leader with innovative ideas and bold actions, from increasing security in public housing to building new playgrounds. This work was the foundation for his leadership as mayor. For this work, he has been recognized in numerous publications, including, among others, TIME, Esquire, New Jersey Monthly (naming him as one of New Jersey’s top 40 under 40), Black Enterprise (naming him to the Hot List, America’s Most Powerful Players under 40) and The New York Times Magazine.
Booker received his B. A. and M. A. from Stanford University, a B. A. in Modern History at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and completed his law degree at Yale University.
By sharing stories informed by real life, Booker demonstrates the need for people to take responsibility to help the United States live up to its promise. He also sheds light on the government reforms needed to deal with the challenges of modern times. Drawing from a deep belief in service and social justice, Booker inspires listeners to greater civic responsibility and issues a call to action for America.