Perry to deliver undergraduate commencement address at NJIT

This year’s graduates of New Jersey Institute of Technology are in for a treat — and maybe a wake-up call.

Marjorie Perry, an alumna and CEO of MZM Construction Co. in Newark, who is known for being a dynamic, tell-it-like-it-is speaker, will be among the keynote speakers at NJIT’s 2024 Commencement ceremonies. Perry will give the keynote address at the undergraduate ceremony May 17 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Perry, who earned her MBA from NJIT, has been an integral part of the university’s community for over a decade. Notably, Perry made history as the first woman and African American to chair the foundation board of directors in 2018, showcasing her dedication and leadership within the institution.

Perry continues to serve on that board, which raises, invests and distributes gifts on behalf of the university and serves as a critical link to the business community. Her contributions of time, talent and resources have greatly enriched NJIT.

Perry, a regular honoree on various ROI Influencers lists, also will be recognized for her commitment to the Highlander community with an honorary doctorate.

Perry is one of many speakers. Others include:

  • Santo Politi, who holds a master’s in electrical engineering from NJIT’s Class of 1990, will address graduates of the Newark College of Engineering, J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts and Martin Tuchman School of Management at the master’s ceremony May 15 at NJIT’s Joel and Diane Bloom Wellness and Events Center. Politi’s career trajectory exemplifies innovation and success, with notable roles at Panasonic, Bankers Trust and Blockbuster before transitioning to venture capital. As the founder and managing partner at Spark Capital, a leading early-stage and growth venture capital firm investing in various sectors, Politi brings a wealth of experience and insight to inspire the next generation of leaders.
  • Samir Saini, an Albert Dorman Honors College scholar and civil engineering graduate of NJIT in the Class of 1997, will share his expertise at the master’s ceremony for Ying Wu College of Computing students May 15 at the WEC. With an impressive career spanning over 25 years, Saini currently serves in a pivotal strategy and go-to-market role within Microsoft’s government practice, empowering state and local governments to leverage various technologies, with a keen focus on artificial intelligence, to transform citizen services and optimize operations. Prior to Microsoft, Saini had extensive experience serving in several chief information officer roles in both the public and private sectors. His deep expertise in technology strategy, operations, project delivery and product management across a broad spectrum of industries makes him an invaluable speaker for graduates entering the tech industry.
  • Carolyn Merkel, a Martin Tuchman School of Management graduate in technology management from the Class of 1997, will deliver the keynote address at the Ph.D. ceremony May 15 at the WEC. Merkel is a founding partner of Mariner Analytical LLC, a consultancy that specializes in providing realistic, fair and actionable knowledge- and science-based advice to clients in regulated industries. Since its inception in 2004, Mariner Analytical has been at the forefront of offering cross-disciplinary solutions in markets ranging from agriculture, pharmaceuticals and construction to food. Prior to Mariner Analytical, Merkel was part of the research & development team at McNeil Nutritionals, where she helped develop the Splenda sweetener. Her commitment to leveraging science and expertise to address complex challenges underscores her significance as a speaker for doctoral graduates poised to make meaningful contributions in their respective fields.

In addition to the keynote addresses, NJIT’s tradition of awarding honorary doctorate degrees continues with three notable alumni. The honorees — Perry, Elizabeth “Liz” Garcia and Alex Khowaylo — have demonstrated exemplary achievement and serve as an inspiration for NJIT’s graduates.