Freeholder to Address Bergen Graduates


PARAMUS, N.J. – Former Bergen Community College trustee and current Bergen County freeholder Germaine M. Ortiz will serve as the keynote speaker at the institution’s May 18 commencement at MetLife Stadium. She represents the first sitting freeholder to deliver the keynote address at Bergen’s commencement.

“Throughout her career, Bergen County Freeholder Germaine Ortiz has stood as a leading voice for supporting education in Bergen County,” College President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Her keynote address will not only cap her distinguished decade of service as a trustee, but provide a lasting graduation day memory for our students, their families and friends.”

The College’s 48th annual ceremony celebrating graduates will recognize more than 2,000 students earning associate degrees and certificates. Bergen has ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degree graduates three consecutive years.

Ortiz, of Emerson, served on Bergen’s board of trustees from 2004 to 2013 and again from 2015 to 2016. Her latest term concluded due to her election to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders last November. In addition to working as a vice president and financial analyst at Dinsmore Capital Management in Morristown, Ortiz has served on governing bodies such as the Bergen County Utilities Authority and Palisades Park borough council while remaining active in the community. She graduated with a B.A. in communication and Spanish from Seton Hall University.

“Serving on the Bergen Community College board of trustees had a profound impact on my life,” Freeholder Ortiz said. “Listening to the stories of our students seeking a path to success always inspired me. I am excited about the opportunity to now pay that forward and share my story with them.”

Bakari G. Lee, the Association of Community College Trustees chair, delivered last year’s commencement address – Bergen’s first at MetLife Stadium. Dr. John W. Davis of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund delivered the College’s first keynote in 1970.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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