GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The more than 250 students who earned their master’s and doctorate degrees were encouraged Tuesday to “#BeExtra” during the Stockton University graduate commencement.

Although the trendy term has largely been negatively associated with being over the top or melodramatic, Stockton President Harvey Kesselman decided to turn it into a positive phrase for Tuesday’s graduates.

“For all of you here today, the ladder of your successes has no upper rung,” Kesselman said. “So if I could impress just one idea upon you today, it would be this: Remember to be more than just your position. Be more than just your title. Be the one who makes an impact. In other words, ‘Be Extra.’”

As the speech ended, #BeExtra and #StocktonU flashed on the large video screen in the Sports Center of the main campus, where more than 1,000 guests attended the ceremony.

This year’s ceremony honored 257 graduates, including 31 candidates who earned a doctor of physical therapy, and 226 who received master’s degrees in 12 disciplines. During the ceremony, Kesselman also recognized six members of the class who are active duty or military veterans.

Student speaker Michael D’Imperio, who earned his professional science master’s in environmental science, encouraged the graduates to keep working toward new goals, even if they sometimes feel unsure.

“It’s OK to be unsure of exactly what happens next,” he said. “Trust yourself, hold your head high and put one foot in front of the next and you will end up exactly where you need to be.”

D’Imperio, who developed a sustainable urban garden in Atlantic City and began a startup company, AgroSolutions NJ, said he is still “crossing his fingers and hoping that this next step will be my big break and everything will work out.”

Tuesday’s event preceded Friday’s undergraduate ceremony at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

— Claire Lowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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