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Commencement Keynote Speakers

Undergraduate Commencement Keynote Speaker

Ramapo College is pleased to announce Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick as the keynote speaker at the 2023 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.

Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D., is noted for her expertise in public policy, character leadership, and ethics.  A lifelong educator who has worked in every sector of education, Dr. Fenwick is known as a “fearless voice” for educational equity and equal opportunity. In 2020, she was a finalist for the U.S. Secretary of Education post. Additionally she is a U.S. Presidential appointee to the Board of Visitors for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (USMA) where she has served since 2017 as a MCLC Senior Fellow occasionally lecturing about character leadership and ethics.

A former Harvard University Visiting Scholar and Visiting Fellow, and Salzburg Global Fellow, she is the author of the award-winning and bestselling book Jim Crow’s Pink Slip (Harvard Education Press, 2022). Jim Crow’s Pink Slip has been referenced by the New York Times and is an NPR Book of the Day. It is also winner of the 2023 Gloria Ladson-Billings Outstanding Book of the Year Award, and is an Amazon #1 Bestseller in Education History. Dr. Fenwick is recipient of the W.E.B. DuBois Higher Education Leadership Award for her national efforts to expand equal educational opportunity and access to higher education.

As a very public-facing scholar and advocate, Dr. Fenwick’s policy research and op-ed articles have been cited and published by the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Politico, the National Academy of Education, Brookings Institution, and the Center for American Progress. She has been a featured speaker at the National Press Club (Washington, D.C.) and has appeared on NPR, CNN, C-SPAN Live, Yahoo! Finance News, and Washington Post Live discussing public policy, educational equity, and the changing U.S. workforce.

She has made a sustained contribution to the research literature publishing numerous journal articles, policy monographs, book chapters, and books. Additionally, she has delivered more than 150 distinguished lectures and keynotes to national and international audiences that include corporate, political, and educational leaders. Dr. Fenwick has served as a consultant to CEO Action for Racial Equity founded by Tim Ryan, U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC. Featured in the New York Times, CEO Action for Racial Equity is the first business-led coalition (comprised of 2,000 corporate chairpersons and CEOs) of its kind with a mission to advance racial equity through public policy.

Dr. Fenwick is one of 11 nationally distinguished scholars appointed a member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Scholarly Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC was established by renown historian Dr. John Hope Franklin to establish the museum’s intellectual agenda and exhibition content. The NMAAHC is the world’s third busiest museum.

Dr. Fenwick is Dean Emerita of the Howard University School of Education where she is a tenured professor of policy and Dean in Residence at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). She earned a Ph.D. in education policy and leadership studies at The Ohio State University where she was a Flesher Fellow, and a bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia.


Graduate Programs Commencement Keynote Speaker

Ramapo College is pleased to announce Alex Gorsky as the keynote speaker at the 2023 Graduate Programs Commencement Ceremony.

Alex Gorsky is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson.

Alex began his Johnson & Johnson career with Janssen Pharmaceutica in 1988, advancing through positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and management until, in 2012, he became the seventh leader to serve in the dual role of Chairman and CEO. He became Executive Chairman at the end of 2021, which he held until his retirement in January 2023.

Under Alex’s leadership, Johnson & Johnson became an industry stalwart. As part of the company’s commitment to serving more than a billion people each day, Alex oversaw significant breakthroughs in public health, including the deployment of an Ebola vaccine and the development of the Janssen single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in just 13 months. He promoted a more diverse and inclusive culture at Johnson & Johnson, serving as the driving force behind the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including a $100 million pledge to fight health inequities faced by communities of color in the United States.

Through his work as a member of the Business Roundtable and the Business Council Executive Committees, Alex’s influence has shaped both the healthcare landscape and the greater business community. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Apple, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Travis Manion Foundation, and serves on the Wharton School Board of Advisors at the University of Pennsylvania.

Alex completed his undergraduate education at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and earned his MBA from Wharton in 1996.