Keynote Speaker and
Honorary Degree Recipients

Keynote Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

Fred Mangione

Fred Mangione

This year's commencement speaker is the Fred Mangione, Chief Operating Officer, Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.  

Fred Mangione serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. Mangione leads an award-winning sales and marketing team and is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of marketing, branding, sales plans and customer relationship management metrics for both the team and the arena. He also manages the communications, game operations, and sponsorship departments, overseeing the development of strategic marketing and activation campaigns for corporate partners of both the team and the arena.

Mangione has leveraged his sales background and played a key role in the transformation of the team brand from New Jersey to Brooklyn, the development of the Barclays Center brand and the five programming franchises at Barclays Center. He has redefined the sales process by focusing on branding and advertising strategy development, improving product messaging and driving sales across all marketing channels. Mangione is responsible for all revenue streams for both the Nets and Barclays Center. Under his leadership, the Nets moved from last place in the NBA to Top 5 in gross ticket sales and merchandise sales. Barclays Center became the top U.S. venue for ticket sales revenue and tickets sold within its first year of operation.

Mangione was named Chief Revenue Officer in 2013, a newly created position for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. Mangione joined the Nets in 1999 as the Director of Ticket Sales and has worked his way up the ranks. During his tenure as head of sales, his team set revenue records that still stand today.

Prior to joining the Nets, Mangione was the Director of Sales for the 1999 Women's World Cup Giants Stadium venue. He started his career in minor league sports, selling tickets and working in marketing for minor league hockey and Arena Football.

A native of Jefferson, N.J., Mangione received his Bachelor of Science degree in business management and marketing from Centenary College. He resides in Glen Rock, N.J. with his wife Jennifer, daughter Madeline, and son Mason.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Robert J. Polakowski

Robert J. Polakowski is a lifelong resident of New Jersey from Bayonne.  He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jersey City State College in 1965 and a Master of Arts from Seton Hall University in 1970.  He is a former classroom teacher in Jersey City.

Mr. Polakowski arrived in Trenton in 1971 as a field representative for membership for the New Jersey Education Association.  For some seven years he was responsible for organizing and implementing an annual statewide membership campaign to raise operating funds from some 1,100 local and county affiliates.  Membership grew from 72,000 to 115,000.

In 1978 Mr. Polakowski became Associate Director for Government Relations representing the interests of school employees before the New Jersey Legislature and Congress.  In addition, he served as campaign consultant to Democratic and Republican candidates for office at the state and national level.

In 1988 Mr. Polakowski became Vice President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, representing the interests of New Jersey’s 14 independent colleges and Universities.  For 26 years he focused on securing operating funds, student aid and capital construction revenue.  Mr. Polakowski retired on July 1, 2014, after 36 years as a registered lobbyist.

Mr. Polakowski is a resident of Lawrenceville and the Blue Heron Golf Club in Galloway, NJ.  His family includes Sona, his wife, son Mark (deceased), and daughter Jennifer, who is the Deputy Director of New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) a RWJF Program.  He has two grandchildren, Collin and Reese.

We live in interesting times.”  Bob Polakowski

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