Ceremony Speakers 2017

Rutgers University–Camden commencement will take place on Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday, May 18, 2017. Below are biographies of the honorary degree recipient and keynote speakers for each ceremony.


Carla D. Hayden, Ph.D., Librarian of Congress

College of Arts and Sciences and University College

Carla Hayden, Ph.D., was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13.

Prior to her latest post, she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Hayden was library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979.

Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. degree from Roosevelt University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

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Sherman Leis, D.O., CCAS'63 Professor and Chair of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

The Graduate School

Sherman Leis CCAS’63, D.O., F.A.C.O.S., is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. His career has been dedicated to surgery to correct injuries, disfigurements, and disease as well as to educate young surgeons in ethical practice.

Leis has trained plastic surgery residents since 1982 and served as a National Board Examiner for certification in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Leis is a founding member and the first president of the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. Currently, he is professor and chair of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, one of the 10 largest medical schools in the United States.

After training with some of the leading international surgeons at the forefront of innovative and transformational techniques in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Leis went on to groundbreaking achievement in establishing both full recognition of the osteopathic profession as well as perfecting and developing new surgical techniques and methods. Believing in expanding the base of doctors who perform gender affirmation surgery, Leis has trained numerous surgeons as part of his commitment to training residents in plastic and reconstructive surgery and transgender surgery.

Leis has written numerous articles on his work and has been published in international journals. He is a frequent and popular speaker at plastic surgery medical conventions and conclaves. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University–Camden in 1963 and his D.O. degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1967.

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Marcel Pop, Ph.D., Director of International Relations, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary

School of Nursing

Marcel Pop, Ph.D, M.Sc., B.Sc., is the director of the Directorate of International Relations at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, a position he has held since 2011. Pop is a recognized expert in global nursing education, biomedical education, health care systems, and internationalization. Under his leadership, Semmelweis University has built and developed international diplomatic networks across the domains of education, research, and patient care. Previously, Pop lead Semmelweis University’s Faculty of Health Sciences Office of International Relations and also served as head of the Nursing Department, where he coordinated the first ever Erasmus+ exchange program for nursing students.

Pop, who earned a degree in psychiatric nursing in 1997, began his academic career as an assistant professor, researcher, and educator in the field of nursing science and has lectured widely on psychiatric nursing, history of nursing, basics of nursing, and comprehensive nursing theory. His scientific activities include numerous publications in English, Romanian, and Hungarian, as well as several presentations in English and Hungarian. As part of his Ph.D. work, Pop focused his program of research on the relation between nursing education and the internationalization process of higher education.

Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden is expanding its global reach through an ongoing collaboration with Semmelweis University that will allow the two higher education institutions to partner on scholar exchange programs that investigate emergency care, infection control, and health care policies in the European Union and the United States.

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James J. Sandman, Esq., President, Legal Services Corporation

Rutgers Law School

James J. Sandman has been president of the Legal Services Corporation since 2011. He practiced law with Arnold & Porter LLP from 1977 to 2007 and served as the firm’s managing partner from 1995 to 2005. From 2007 to 2011, he was general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Sandman was president of the District of Columbia Bar from 2006 to 2007 and served on the bar’s Board of Governors from 2003 to 2008. He is currently the chair of the District of Columbia Bar’s Pro Bono Committee and chair of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services. He is a member of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission (by appointment of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals) and of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee. From 2007 to 2008, he served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. He is chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s District of Columbia State Advisory Committee; chair of the board of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy; vice chair of the board of the Washington Performing Arts Society; and a member of the boards of the Meyer Foundation, the College of Saint Rose, and Tahirih Justice Center.

Sandman previously served as chair of the board of Whitman-Walker Health and as a member of the boards of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia, the International Senior Lawyers Project, the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, Wilkes University, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He also has served on the scholarship selection committee of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

Sandman was named one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by the Legal Times in 2008. The University of Pennsylvania Law School has honored him with its Alumni Award of Merit and its Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award. He has received numerous awards, including the Wiley A. Branton Award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Legal Rights and Urban Affairs, and the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s “Star of the Bar” Award. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the College of Saint Rose in 2013 and received Villanova University’s Medallion Award in 2014.

Sandman is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received his law degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as executive editor of the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Max Rosenn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

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Steven G. Selfridge SBC’79, President of Government Services, a Day & Zimmermann Company

School of Business

Steven Selfridge SBC’79 is known for building and leading high-performance, multinational teams and uniting parties on a common mission and goals. As a dynamic international executive with more than a 35-year history of establishing and growing a variety of business, he has demonstrated success in increasing profits and market share, having worked across six continents in highly competitive global industries.

He is currently president of Government Services, a Day & Zimmermann Company, a century-old, family-owned company with 42,000 employees. Government Services is a trusted provider of integrated security and critical infrastructure solutions, carrying out and enabling national security missions globally in support of the U.S. government domestically and abroad. Prior to his current role, he was vice president of corporate development at Day & Zimmermann.

Selfridge began his career as a C.P.A. at KPMG, and then moved on to provide C.F.O. leadership to an architectural and engineering firm in Delaware, which was ultimately sold to publicly held Tetra Tech. As C.O.O., Selfridge helped retail security provider Checkpoint Systems, Inc. grow from $35 million to $360 million through a number of public financings and acquisitions. As C.E.O. of logistics software company Acsis Inc., Selfridge grew the company sixfold before selling it.  

He was born in Woodbury, New Jersey, and attended Woodbury High School. In 1979, he graduated from the Rutgers School of Business–Camden, where he serves on the Leadership Council. He resides in Gloucester Township with his wife of 37 years and has two children and two grandchildren.

Selfridge is also chair of the foundation board of Lourdes Hospital in Camden. He has won numerous awards, including a two-time “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist by Ernst & Young, and was honored as an inaugural Rutgers–Camden Finest, one of 50 alumni in honor of Rutgers–Camden’s 50th Anniversary.

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