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Christie Speaks At Rowan Graduation; Says Hard Work Is Key

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By Cleve Bryan

GLASSBORO, N.J. (CBS) —A windy, rainy day made for some soggy slacks and sun dresses but it couldn’t put a damper on Rowan University’s 2014 Commencement

“I’m feeling great graduating today, it’s good to be here,” said engineering major Jack Kolodziej after the ceremony was moved indoors.

With about 2,300 undergraduates and 500 graduate students, this marks the largest graduating class in Rowan’s history.

On stage the college honored three state officials, who despite different political backgrounds, have championed the cause of advancing Rowan.

Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Donald Norcross had to laugh when they were dubbed Rowan’s “three musketeers.”

The three men received honorary doctor of laws degrees after working together on the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act.

Rowan was designated a comprehensive public research university under the Act and became only the second university in the U-S to offer both D.O. and M.D. medical degrees.

Christie was the keynote speaker.

“Believe in yourself as much as the people around you believe in you,” Christie said encouraging graduates to hold a positive self-image.

The theme of his message was how hard work separates those who accomplish their goals from those who don’t.

“I learned from my grandmother, she laid the foundation for me and she taught me about hard work,” said Christie whose grandmother was a Sicilian immigrant who raised three kids alone.

Christie, considering a run for President despite his office being in midst of several investigations related to the George Washington Bridge scandal, left the next generation with the words “go write your own story.”

Students had mixed feelings about Christie’s presence with some saying it took the focus off their own accomplishments.

After the speech most agreed he gave sound advice.

“He did a really good job keeping the politics out of his speech and focusing on giving us information that we probably need,” says honors graduate Euver Joaquin.

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