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Innovative NJ mayor to address URI grads

April 21, 2011

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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.—The mayor of Newark, N.J., who's credited with transforming the city's schools and economy, is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at the University of Rhode Island.

The university announced Thursday that Mayor Cory Booker will also be awarded an honorary doctorate. About 3,300 students are expected to get degrees at the May 22 ceremony.

Booker has overseen a restructuring of Newark's police department that's credited with a major reduction in violent crime.

He's also been praised for efforts to make the city's schools an urban education model with the help of a $100 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Plastics company executive Victor Baxt and former Hasbro Inc. CEO Alan Hassenfeld will also receive honorary degrees. Climate scientist Margaret Leinen is to address URI graduate students May 21.