Anybody can offer a graduation speech, but Jon Bon Jovi is not just anybody. He gave the departing seniors at Rutgers University's Camden, N.J., campus a parting gift yesterday that they'll never forget: a new song called "Reunion."

Grabbing his guitar, Bon Jovi hoped to encourage the graduates, who are only just starting a long journey. "This isn't how the story ends, my friends, it's just a fork along the road," he sang. The bigger message? "Write your songs, sing along – love your life. Learn to laugh, dare to dance – touch the sky." Later, Bon Jovie prompted them to "start your revolution" with his new song.

"Reunion" was so freshly composed that Bon Jovi admitted he'd only performed it once before. "I sang it for the chancellor in the back dressing room," he said.

Bon Jovi received an honorary doctor of letters for his work in philanthropy. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation addresses issues of hunger, homelessness and poverty. Its work includes building a homeless shelter in Camden, as well as affordable housing in Philadelphia and a Red Bank restaurant that feeds homeless people and others.

This isn't the first time Jon Bon Jovi pulled out his instrument at this venue. The Rutgers ceremony was held at the local Susquehanna Bank Center, where his namesake band has performed.

"I tried to buy you all a gift," Bon Jovi quipped, "but I wasn't sure of sizes or favorite colors."

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