March 14, 2013

Newark Mayor Cory Booker named 2013 convocation speaker

Cory Booker
Booker

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., will address the Class of 2013 at Senior Convocation, May 25, during Cornell’s 145th Commencement Weekend.

The second-term mayor, a Democrat, was first elected mayor of New Jersey’s largest city in 2006 and has made many strides to improve the city’s schools, reduce crime and connect with citizens.

Roneal Desai ’13, chair of the Class of 2013 Convocation Committee, announced Booker as convocation speaker during a meeting of the Student Assembly, March 14.

From his versatile range of experiences to his practical approach to tackling issues “from the ground floor” by engaging his constituents, Booker epitomizes the exact message the Convocation Committee felt would resonate with the Class of 2013, Desai said.

“As an innovator in how government officials can engage citizens, a living representative of success through meritocracy, and a rising young leader in our generation, we couldn't think of a better candidate to address our class before we begin our post-Cornell lives,” Desai said.

Booker, 43, is the third African-American mayor of Newark. Before his election, he served as a city councilman from 1998 to 2002. He has become well known for his personal involvement in public service, from living on a food stamp budget to raise awareness of food insecurity, to shoveling the driveway of a constituent, to saving a woman from a house fire at his own risk.

His many initiatives to improve the city of Newark have included increasing the rate of affordable housing production; creating the city’s largest expansion of parks and recreation spaces in more than a century; bringing more than $1 billion of economic development into the city; reforming public education; and creating new opportunities for Newark’s youth.

In an effort to combat crime in Newark, Booker has also gained widespread attention for his implementation of new technologies ranging from New Jersey’s largest wireless network for fighting crime, including cameras and gunshot detection, to effectively connecting with constituents via such social media platforms as Twitter and Facebook.

Booker was named to the 2011 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in sociology, both from Stanford University, where he was commencement speaker in 2012. He also earned an honors degree in U.S. history at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and he completed his law degree at Yale University.

Senior Convocation will take place at noon May 25 in Schoellkopf Stadium. The hourlong event will be open to the public; no tickets are required, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Students’ families will be provided with advance tickets for the alternate Barton Hall location in the event of inclement weather.