Centenary University holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at their new Campus Drive location

Eric LeGrand, a guest speaker, is a source of inspiration, hope and perseverance for many

Dr. Diedre Letson-Christofalo, President Dr. David P. Haney and Parsippany-Troy Hills Vice President Robert Peluso cuts the ribbon during their Grand Opening celebration

PARSIPPANY — Centenary University’s School of Professional Studies (SPS), which has served the education needs of adult students since 1999, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new location located at the Mack-Cali Professional Building, 7 Campus Drive. SPS’s new state-of-the-art facility help position Centenary as a leader in adult education. The SPS programs provide an entrepreneurial approach to the educational experience by offering professional studies to those in the workforce allowing students to select the modality most conductive to their busy lifestyle.

“It was a strategic decision almost 20 years ago to develop SPS in Parsippany to build the workforce capacity in the region,” says Dr. Diedre Letson-Christofalo, Vice President for Adult, Corporate and Online Education. “This new location will further enrich the learning experience as it was designed to accommodate the needs for the adult learner.”

Remarks were made by Centenary University President Dr. David P. Haney and Eric LeGrand, motivational speaker and former Rutgers football player. LeGrand discussed his own journey overcoming obstacles and the importance of following one’s dreams. He further urged attendees how they can move forward in their lives by moving past personal challenges.

Joining the Board of Directors during the ribbon cutting was President Dr. David P. Haney and Dr. Diedre Letson-Christofalo, was Parsippany-Troy Hills Vice President Robert Peluso, Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Board member Frank Cahill and Board member Nicolas Limanov.

“I was excited to celebrate the growth of Centenary University’s new facilities and School of Professional Studies in our hometown of Parsippany. Higher education is important in the lives of our children and the future of Parsippany. Dr. David Haney, who was recently appointed the 13th President of Centenary University indicated that we need to design our future based upon what people need. I share in his vision and appreciate him choosing Parsippany to accommodate the needs of our residents and workforce. Congratulations to Centenary University on their new facility,” said Peluso.

Eric LeGrand is a source of inspiration, hope and perseverance for many. A standout high school football player, LeGrand went on to play for Rutgers University. On October 16, 2010, in his junior year, LeGrand suffered a severe spinal injury during a game. As a result, he underwent nine hours of emergency surgery to become stabilized. Doctors gave him zero to five percent chance of regaining neurologic function. In January 2011, he regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout the body.

On October 29, 2011, LeGrand, in his motorized wheelchair, led the Scarlet Knights onto the field at Rutgers stadium for their game against West Virginia. This moment was chosen by readers of Sports Illustrated as “The Best Moment of 2011.”

In fall of 2012, LeGrand released his book, titled BELIEVE: My Faith and the Tackle that Changed My Life, published by HarperCollins. Humbled by the outpouring support from around the nation, LeGrand decided to form a charity. Team LeGrand of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation was established in 2013. Proceeds go toward research to find a cure for paralysis and helping improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.

“I am pleased to talk about my personal educational journey and how my priorities shifted to motivating others to realize their potential after my injury, says LeGrand.”

This new facility offers more classroom and conference space than before, plus it houses a Social Media Center of Expertise. This Center, which is called #theVIBE, will launch a Social Media Marketing certificate program and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Social Media Marketing for adult professionals.

Eric J. LeGrand was born September 4, 1990. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to a symbolic contract as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. In 2017, LeGrand was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as the third recipient of the Warrior Award. On May 18, 2014, LeGrand received a degree in labor relations from Rutgers and was asked to speak to his fellow graduates at Rutgers’ spring commencement exercises.

On July 30, 2013, coach Kyle Flood announced Rutgers will retire jersey number 52 of paralyzed former player Eric LeGrand. He was honored in a ceremony September 14, 2013, it was the first number ever retired for the football program.

On October 16, 2016 (the 6th anniversary of his spinal cord injury), Avenel, NJ’s former “Fifth District Park” was rededicated in LeGrand’s honor as “Eric LeGrand ‘Believe’ Park”. The park is slated to be fully redesigned and updated with handicap-accessible playground equipment.

#theVIBE was first launched at the Centenary University in Hackettstown in September 2015 as a location where students can gain social media expertise and where businesses can leverage the knowledge of social media experts. The launch of this program was so successful that they have built a second Social Media Center in Parsippany.

Students studying Social Media Marketing will be immersed in social media by learning in a modern collaborative environment at #theVIBE, with its impressive touchscreen video wall streaming the latest social media data.

This is a rapidly changing field and the program keeps students on the pulse of social media through interactive demos, customized video homework by social media experts, and hands-on use of industry social media listening software. In addition to this certificate, there are new graduate level certificates that are being offered at SPS in Leadership and Health Administration.

Students in the SPS program can take classes in a variety of formats: one-night-per-week, completely online or through a blended approach, which combines online and in class methods. The curriculum combines theory and practical experience, allowing students to apply knowledge acquired immediately. Having conferred thousands of A.A., B.S.B.A and M.B.A. degrees, the School of Professional Studies serves as an inclusive and collaborative learning community dedicated to preparing adult students to progress further in society and to contribute directly to the state’s economic engine.

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation.

Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in Parsippany and Edison, as well as corporate sites throughout New Jersey.



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Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989. Covering a wide range of events. Executive Board Member Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce. President of Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany. Vice Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.