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Senate President Nicholas Scutari delivers the commencement address at Hudson County Community College on May 17, 2023. (Phpto: Office of Senator Scutari).

Nick Scutari’s commencement address at Hudson County College

By David Wildstein, May 18 2023 8:55 pm

The following is the text of Senate President Nichola Scutari’s commencement address at Hudson County Community College on May 17, 2023:

President Reber, esteemed faculty, dedicated staff members, and the exceptional students of this institution, it is a real honor to address you today.  I am grateful to be here on this joyous occasion as we celebrate the remarkable achievements of the Hudson County Community College graduating class.

You probably won’t remember who I am, but you may take away the fact that I was the person who legalized marijuana in New Jersey.

We gather here in the spirit of hope and celebration.  There are so many here that made this day possible.  

To the faculty, staff, and administrators of Hudson County Community College, I extend my deepest gratitude to everything that you have given these graduates.  You have cultivated their potential, ignited their intellectual curiosity, and prepared them for what lies ahead.  Your tireless efforts have laid the foundation for their success and have imbued them with the knowledge and skills necessary to shape a better world. 

To the families and loved ones present here today, your unwavering support and encouragement have been the bedrock upon which these graduates have built their dreams.  You have stood by them through it all, providing love, guidance, and the assurance that anything is possible.  Today, we celebrate not only the accomplishments of these remarkable individuals but also the collective achievement of the families who have nurtured and believed in them. 

And to the extraordinary Class of 2023, congratulations!  This commencement is a milestone that represents countless hours of hard work, determination, and sacrifice.  You have faced adversity head-on, persevering in the face of challenges, and emerging stronger and more resilient.  Today, we honor your achievements and recognize the incredible potential that resides within each and every one of you. 

And while this is the end of your time here at Hudson, I hope that it is just the beginning of your academic and career journey. I understand the value of community colleges. I know that students like you are the hardest working, most committed students there are.  

I studied at Union County College.  And it was my time, and hard work there, that sparked my interest in public policy and inspired me to become a lawyer. I went on to earn my master’s and law degree and I couldn’t have done it without the strong foundation I received at Union County College. It set me up for success and helped shaped me into the kind of man, lawyer, public servant, and leader that I am today.    

And I’m proud that our community colleges here in New Jersey are leading the way in workforce innovation through great partnerships with employers and other organizations to train and place students in well-paying jobs in manufacturing and healthcare, and other fields that offer opportunities. These industries will flourish here because of students like you.  

As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter where you start, but simply that you begin. And all of you here have begun to invest in yourself, in your future selves. You have begun to envision a brighter future for yourselves and for your families. I am here to remind you that you are the future leaders we need in New Jersey.  

As you stand on the precipice of a world full of promise and possibility, I urge you to remember the words of President Roosevelt: “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.”  

The education you have received here at Hudson County Community College is not simply a means to an end, but rather a powerful tool that empowers you to fulfill your potential and contribute to the progress of our society.  

In a time marked by great challenges and uncertainty, it is easy to be disheartened.  But I urge you to embrace the spirit of optimism and perseverance that has defined our nation throughout its history.  

Your education has certainly equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities to navigate an ever-changing world.  But going forward, carry the virtues of empathy and understanding.  In times of hardship, let us extend a helping hand.  And in the pursuit of progress, let us remember that true success is measured not only by personal achievements but by the positive impact we have on the lives of others. 

As you set out on your individual journeys, remember that you are not alone.  You are part of a larger community, bound together by shared experiences and a common purpose.  Support one another, uplift one another, and collaborate with one another. You are now part of the Hudson County Community College community. 

Before I close, my wish for you is a future filled with purpose and an unwavering belief in your own potential.   Please know that you have the power to create a brighter tomorrow for yourselves and for generations to come. 


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