Author James Patterson Delivers Commencement Address at MSU

BY  |  Thursday, May 29, 2014 2:03pm  |  COMMENTS (24)

CommencementMontclair State University held its 2014 Commencement exercises on Friday, May 23, at the Izod Center at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports Complex and conferred 4,382 degrees to the largest graduating class in the University’s 106-year history. The Class of 2014 includes 3,210 undergraduate and 1,172 graduate students.

Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over the ceremony, which featured a Commencement address delivered by James B. Patterson, the award-winning author of more than 100 books.

A perennially best-selling author, Patterson has sold more than 270 million copies of his books worldwide, which include the best-selling Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and Women’s Murder Club series. He is the first author to achieve 10 million e-book sales and he holds the Guinness world record for having more New York Times number one bestsellers than any other author. Patterson has received numerous awards, including the Edgar Award, the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year Award, the International Thriller of the Year Award and the Children’s Choice Book Award for Author of the Year.

After receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University, Patterson addressed the Class of 2014 and spoke of the lasting impact of stories on people’s lives.

“I’m talking about the power of real stories to change real lives,” he said. “The power of stories that help us understand the world better than we knew.”

“I love writing stories; I’m incredibly passionate about it,” said Patterson in offering some advice: “Passion is the reason for choosing a career – not money, not fame – passion.”

Patterson also is a passionate supporter of reading and education. In 2013 alone, the author and his wife, Susan, funded more than $1 million in scholarships at a number of colleges and universities – including Montclair State – for future teachers who are committed to providing students with the foundation for a lifetime enjoyment of reading.

The first James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships at Montclair State were awarded in 2012 to eight undergraduate students and 16 undergraduate and five graduate students each received awards of $7,500 a year in 2013. At this year’s Commencement, 12 scholarship recipients graduated.

Greetings from the senior class were offered by Michael Christopher Rosin, who received a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with a concentration in Music Theory and Composition. The Westfield, New Jersey resident will attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a master’s degree student in Music Composition next year.

A committee of graduate faculty and students selected Mark F. Russo as the graduate student speaker. Next year, Russo, who received a doctorate in Mathematics Education, will be starting a new job as the district supervisor for mathematics for the Pascack Valley Regional High School District.

24 Comments

  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 29, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

    See that, Rutgers? MSU can have a guy who’s last book “Unlucky 13,” had The Women’s Murder Club, according to Amazon, “stalked by a killer with nothing to lose.” Patterson’s work has also featured serial killers that rape, murder and torture women. (Sure he’ll throw in a “strong” woman seeking justice to “balance” it out, but c’mon.)

    But a Black woman who grew up in the segregated south, who served as Secretary of State, and former Provost of Stanford? No way!!

    Glad to see MSU has its priorities straight in offering a speaker students can draw inspiration from!

  2. POSTED BY mike 91  |  May 29, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    But a Black woman who grew up in the segregated south, who served as Secretary of State, and former Provost of Stanford?

    You missed the part where she was a member of an administration that lied its way into a 10-year, wholly unnecessary war. But other than that, right on!

    I don’t read Patterson, I tried him once and he was awful. But as far as I know, he’s not responsible for the deaths of actual people.

  3. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 29, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

    Sorry mike, you’re right.

    But with all those Dems (including H. R. Clinton) voting and agreeing with “the evidence” way back, it remains odd to me to here folks like you say “lie” so easy, and only towards those you disagree.

    Oh, well. At least we can agree that a someone who makes a living off of writing about raping and killing women is a better choice.

    At least we have that, huh?

  4. POSTED BY mike 91  |  May 29, 2014 @ 3:27 pm

    But with all those Dems (including H. R. Clinton) voting and agreeing with “the evidence” way back, it remains odd to me to here folks like you say “lie” so easy, and only towards those you disagree.

    And where did this “evidence” come from? Such as the evidence that Iraq was attempting to acquire Uranium from Africa (which turned out to be a you-know-what)? Or the evidence that Colin Powell used when he testified before Congress that turned out be figments of the adminstration’s imagination? They made it up, and to Congress’s shame, they believed them. Our media didn’t help either.

    It’s worth noting that a freshman congressman from Illinois raised some alarms. Too bad we didn’t listen more closely.

  5. POSTED BY mike 91  |  May 29, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

    Oh, well. At least we can agree that a someone who makes a living off of writing about raping and killing women is a better choice.

    I don’t know if this is sarcastic or not, but hell yes he is.

  6. POSTED BY MellonBrush  |  May 29, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

    It’s hard to watch television without encountering sadistic, misogynistic violent ‘content’. I mean, you know, you want people to pay attention there had better be some kind of bloodletting which makes me wonder why the news delivery outlets are so squeamish about showing dead bodies and shit. You’d think we’d all be over that by now.

  7. POSTED BY MellonBrush  |  May 29, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

    .. and Galaxyman, you can kiss my ass!

  8. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  May 29, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

    James Patterson is a mystery/crime writer, that’s what they do. That doesn’t mean he sympathizes with his antagonists.

    As for Condi Rice, I agree, Prof. Rutgers’ treatment of her was abominable. I would certainly attend a lecture where she was speaking. And James Patterson, too, for that matter.

  9. POSTED BY johnqp  |  May 29, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

    When it comes to creating fiction, there is no one better than Condoleeza Rice.

  10. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 29, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

    mike, I apologize. I believe I told you a while back that you were ALWAYS right.

    Engaging with you here is my mistake. I should have just left you alone in your corner.

    Please accept my apology.

  11. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 29, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

    Ms. Martta,

    Not just Rutgers, but a number of colleges embarrassed themselves with their selective outrage over speakers.

    I’m just thrilled that writing about the rape, torture, and hunting down of women is perfectly acceptable to MSU. No problems with that!

  12. POSTED BY jcunningham  |  May 29, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    “Rutgers’ treatment of (C. Rice) was abominable”

    —ick. the word “abominable” was just stripped of all meaning. let’s see if we can help redefine it…

    Butchers Bill:

    1 war based on fabricated evidence and lies
    4400 american servicemen dead
    174,000 iraqi citizens dead
    lord knows how many folks tortured by us government policy

    yep, if i was looking for an inspirational figure to help commemorate my life moment, she’d be right there at the top of the list.

  13. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  May 29, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

    Geez! We’re not one week removed from Memorial Day. Maybe we can postpone this until half-Valentine’s Day?

  14. POSTED BY mike 91  |  May 29, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

    Engaging with you here is my mistake. I should have just left you alone in your corner.

    That’s right Prof. Take your ball and go home. But it’s not that I’m always right. It’s that what you post here is so consistently muddle headed.

    And poor Ms Rice. Perhaps she should book herself somewhere like Liberty University. They could even bestow an honorary degree in “nothing-up-my-sleeve”.

  15. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  May 29, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

    Great choice. An ex-ad agency creative director who has other people write his books. Mostly copywriters who used to work for him. At least he gives them credit now and is open about the Patterson franchise. And true to Madmen form, to my knowledge none of them are women. Brilliant marketer.

  16. POSTED BY unmitigated gall  |  May 29, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

    Prof, if it makes you feel better, Patterson does look like Mitch McConnell there.

  17. POSTED BY johnqp  |  May 29, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    POSTED BY jerseygurl | MAY 29, 2014 @ 7:56 PM
    Great choice. An ex-ad agency creative director who has other people write his books. Mostly copywriters who used to work for him. At least he gives them credit now and is open about the Patterson franchise. And true to Madmen form, to my knowledge none of them are women. Brilliant marketer.

    …or the Mark Kostabi of literature, perhaps ?

  18. POSTED BY PAZ  |  May 29, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

    So many better role models out there and so many bad choices.

  19. POSTED BY PAZ  |  May 29, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

    The Bobolink Farms people would have been a better choice….Let’s go upworthy. Enough of the warmongers, pettyfoggers and copy-writers. The overpaid, moneygrubbing mooks seeking entrance into 1% land.

  20. POSTED BY cathar  |  May 29, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

    I generally find the guy unreadable. (And by the way, he used to write his novels all by himself.) But I also note that he showed up (to wear that truly unflattering robe) and that he’s uncommonly generous. How much have you given for scholarships this year, mike91? And you, johnqp?

    As for the content of his novels, prof, it’s really no worse than the work of, say, Joyce Carol Oates. Or compared to what happens in James Webb’s novels. No, he’s not Ruth Rendell or P.D. James as a stylist, but those two very fine writers also spill an awful lot of female blood in many of their books. Perhaps you might simply set yourself to reading some mystery-suspense novels during your summer vacation, prof.

  21. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 30, 2014 @ 9:25 am

    Sorry, cathar. Not my taste. I prefer biographies and non-fiction.

    Still, in the age of hashtag outrage regarding women and girls, choosing a writer whose stories frequently trade in the “torture porn” variety is an odd choice that shows an administration that perhaps isn’t as in tune to current cultural trends as it should.

    But thankfully, no one brought up this US News and World Reports story claiming Patterson is a “major conservative donor.”

    A conservative who writes torture porn mysteries? WOW. MSU continues to impress.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/10/05/11-authors-who-have-written-political-checks-this-election

  22. POSTED BY walleroo  |  May 30, 2014 @ 11:43 am

    They got Patterson because Hillary was busy that day.

  23. POSTED BY cathar  |  May 30, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

    Perhaps they got Pstterson, walleroo, because both you and the Prof were unavailable.

  24. POSTED BY walleroo  |  May 30, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

    After they called you, cathar, they called me, and when I said no, they asked for prof’s phone number, but I wouldn’t give it to them.

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