Steven Van Zandt Urges Rutgers Graduates to ‘Embrace Jersey Roots’

"Reach for greatness, nothing less," Van Zandt said.

By Annie Reuter

Steven Van Zandt served the commencement address at Rutgers University on Sunday (May 14). One of the founding members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Van Zandt urged the graduates at High Point Solutions Stadium on Rutgers’ Busch campus to be authentic as they go out into the world to chase their dreams.

Related: Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt Mourn Loss of Jonathan Demme

“Authenticity worked for Bruce. It worked for David Chase,” the rocker said, referencing Springsteen and the creator of The Sopranos.“Embrace your Jersey roots and authenticity. Jersey strong. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. You’re in the Jersey family now.”

The musician and actor also stressed the importance for each graduate to find “greatness” in their lives, reported¬†NJ.com. “Lead us into a green future. Reach for greatness, nothing less. And make sure you have some fun along the way. Life should never be boring. Congratulations. Go get ’em,” Van Zandt said.

Van Zandt was awarded an honorary Rutgers doctorate at the graduation for his work with Springsteen, his acting role on The Sopranos and activist work fighting apartheid in South Africa. His commencement address follows President Obama’s 2016 commencement speech at university’s 250th anniversary.

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