New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy to Give William Paterson University Commencement Address and Receive Honorary Doctorate on May 31 at the Prudential Center

This year will mark the University’s 200th Commencement ceremonies

Governor Murphy speaks to the media following the 2017 gubernatorial debate held at William Paterson.

President Helldobler greets the governor on campus before a roundtable event with WP students in 2019.

Governor Murphy speaks to the media following the 2017 gubernatorial debate held at William Paterson.

New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy will give the keynote address at William Paterson University’s 2023 undergraduate commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 31. The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark. Gov. Murphy will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

“We are thrilled that Governor Murphy will join the William Paterson community to celebrate with us on this most special day for our graduates, their families, and friends,” says University President Richard J. Helldobler. “William Paterson is one of New Jersey’s great public universities, and our students are changing the social fabric of our State and our nation thanks, in many ways, to the leadership of Governor Murphy.”

President Helldobler adds, “It will be especially meaningful for our graduates to hear from Governor Murphy, who, through innovative programs like the Garden State Guarantee and additional support for Tuition Aid Grants, continues to demonstrate his commitment to increasing educational attainment across the State, including putting more life-changing degrees into the hands of New Jersey residents. The Governor is a true champion of public higher education and the role it must play in building a stronger New Jersey, and we cannot wait to hear at our Commencement his words of encouragement for the next generation of graduates, who will deliver on that promise.”

President Helldobler greets the governor on campus before a roundtable event with WP students in 2019.

This year will mark the University’s 200th Commencement ceremonies. More than 2,500 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree candidates are expected to be recognized at the University’s Commencement events. Ceremonies will be held for master’s and doctoral degree candidates on Thursday, May 18, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Sports and Recreation Center on William Paterson’s Wayne campus. 

Alumni from the Class of 1973 will be present at the undergraduate ceremony along with members of the Pioneer Society, which consists of alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago.

Governor Phil Murphy took the oath of office for a second term as New Jersey’s 56th governor on January 18, 2022. He is the first Democratic governor to serve a second term in 44 years. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the National Governors Association and was Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in 2020.

Since taking office in 2018, Governor Murphy has focused on building a stronger, fairer, and more affordable New Jersey. Under his leadership, New Jersey has made strides in growing the state’s economy and creating new economic opportunity while shrinking longstanding inequities, restoring fiscal responsibility to state government while expanding critical investments, and delivering real tax fairness and relief, including 14 tax cuts for New Jersey’s middle class and seniors.

Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey had already emerged as a national leader on a number of nationally significant issues prior to the pandemic, including increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, guaranteeing earned sick days, and expanding paid family leave. He has also enacted initiatives to provide a tuition-free public college education for qualified students. In February 2020, Governor Murphy visited William Paterson University for a roundtable discussion with students and President Richard J. Helldobler focused on the topic of higher education affordability, and to discuss his Garden State Guarantee proposal.

Prior to his election as governor, Governor Murphy served on the national board of the NAACP and as United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, appointed by President Obama. He has been deeply engaged in civic life and philanthropic pursuits with organizations such as 180 Turning Lives Around, a Monmouth County women’s shelter where he has served as board president, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a non-profit organization which works with local community development associations to transform urban neighborhoods across the country. In 2018, Governor Murphy was named one of four honorees of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award.

Prior to entering public life, Governor Murphy worked for over 20 years at Goldman Sachs, starting as an intern in 1982 and ending in 2003 as a member of the firm’s management committee. During his business career, he led offices in Frankfurt, Germany, and Hong Kong.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Governor Murphy is a graduate of Harvard University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Tammy Snyder Murphy, live in Middletown, NJ and are the parents of four children: Josh, Emma, Charlie, and Sam.