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Kean University Announces Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients for its 2014 Commencement

UNION - Kean University will award degrees to close to 700 graduate and over 2,900 undergraduate students at commencement ceremonies in May. The PNC Arts Center in Holmdel will host the Nathan Weiss Graduate College ceremonies on Tuesday, May 20 at 11 a.m. The undergraduate ceremonies will take place on Thursday, May 22 at the Prudential Center in Newark starting at 8:30 a.m.

The longest running cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL) Darrell Hammond will deliver the keynote address at the undergraduate ceremonies. Hammond has performed for presidents and received a standing ovation at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.  The prolific comedian’s half-hour comedy special, Comedy Central Presents: Darrell Hammond, ranks as the network’s most watched program.

With over 100 impersonations, Darrell Hammond holds the title for the most impressions by a single SNL cast member. He performs popular parodies of Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Jay Leno, Donald Trump and Sean Connery. A New York Times bestselling author, he has publicly spoken about his personal tragedies.

Erik Parker ‘01 of Bloomfield, NJ will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the undergraduate ceremonies. He is the writer and producer of Time Is Illmatic, a feature length documentary film that delves deep into the making of Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation. The film made its world premiere as the featured opening film of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

Throughout his career, Erik Parker has brought to light some of the most revealing and important stories to the hip-hop generation. He served as Music and Senior Editors for The Source Magazine, Director of Content for music news site, SOHH.com, and Music Editor for VIBE Magazine. He has written for XXL, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Latina, Glamour and MTV.com. Parker is often called on to provide commentary for CNN, MSNBC, BET, MTV, VH1, Fox News and other outlets. He graduated from Kean with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, then went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Comedian Samantha Bee will deliver the keynote address at Kean University’s Nathan Weiss Graduate College Commencement Ceremony. In her 12th year in the cast of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bee currently serves as its Most Senior Correspondent. In addition to her work on The Daily Show, she can be seen in the upcoming feature Learning To Drive with Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson and is a frequent contributor for The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, I Know I Am But What Are You, was released in paperback by Simon & Schuster in 2011.  Decrying the dearth of women in late night, media insiders at Variety and Salon have tabbed Bee as Craig Fergusun’s possible successor on the Late Late Show.

Maxine Lane ’78 of Middletown, NJ will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the graduate commencement ceremony. While working as a secretary in the Monmouth County Welfare Department in the 1970s, she decided to pursue her Bachelor of Science degree in social work to learn more about helping those in need of support. Her generosity of spirit led Maxine and her late husband, Jack, to make one of the largest gifts ever given to Kean University, an estimated $6 million. In recognition of that extraordinary contribution, Kean University named its Center for Academic Success in honor of Maxine and Jack Lane in 2009.

Media wishing to cover either graduation may contact Marsha McCarthy at (908) 737-0589 or e-mail mmccarth@kean.edu.

Monk May 13, 2014 at 09:39 AM
Comedians and a rapper to address college grads. Very inspiring.

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