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Jersey rockers and college commencements — a win-win

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06: Musician Jon Bon Jovi performs onstage during SeriousFun Children's Network 2016 NYC Gala Show on June 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Jon Bon Jovi performs onstage during SeriousFun Children’s Network 2016 NYC Gala Show on June 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Once upon a time you either went to college or became a rock star, if you were fortunate enough to make it, that is. Now in 2017, the rock stars are speaking at commencements across New Jersey. Steven Van Zandt spoke at Rutgers and Jon BonJovi crashed the ceremony at Fairleigh Dickerson University after they won his nationwide contest with a song written especially for them, or probably any contest winner.

This is a win-win situation. The colleges get a celebrity to speak to them and the rockers, who both have new albums to promote, get lots of free press and the shot at turning on a younger generation to their music. If rock is truly dead as Van Zandt believes, they’re going to need that. Also, from a Jersey aspect both get to pass along what they’ve learned from being street smart to those who are more book smart.

While they may not have gone to college, Bon Jovi got as far as Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin, and Van Zandt, Middletown High School. They can definitely preach determination, confidence, hustle and most of all, hard work. Those things are not taught in the classroom but as Bruce Springsteen sings “We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school.” Wouldn’t it be great if all commencement speakers could keep their speech to a three minute record?  But I digress….

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