Author: Larry Hlavenka

Commencement Celebrates Class of ’18 and College History

Soggy weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the Bergen class of 2018.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Bergen Community College put a cap on each of the members of the class of 2018 and the institution’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration May 17 at MetLife Stadium during its annual commencement ceremony. Recognizing the 1,000 graduates in attendance and approximately 2,500 as part of the overall class, the event highlighted student achievements and the institution’s five decades of success stories – blending Bergen’s past, present and future.

Guest speakers such as Gov. Phil Murphy, Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III and Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Thomas Sullivan joined President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., and Grand Marshal Ursula Parrish-Daniels, Ed.D., in celebrating students such as valedictorian Zaina Laaroussi, of Fort Lee. She offered optimism for her classmates.

“Wake up every morning and go out in the world with an open mindset,” Laaroussi said. “Listen to what others have to say and take part in intellectual discussion. Do what you love in life because life is too short to just be mediocre.”

During his remarks, Gov. Murphy expressed his support for the class of 2018 – and community colleges.

“It’s places like Bergen Community College,” he said, “where an education has been put within reach of everyone who wants it.”

In addition to remarks from the government officials in attendance during intermittent rain, the program featured videos detailing the College’s history. Special recognitions and musical performances took place in between the videos, including a singing of the College’s alma mater by student Alex Czechowicz, of Tenafly – who wrote new verses as part of the 50th anniversary celebration – and “God Bless America” by student and U.S. Air Force veteran Katalina Escobar, of Woodland Park.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the College has sought to look to the future as well, raising scholarship dollars for the next generation of Bergen students through the $50 for 50 campaign. For $20.18, more than 200 members of the class of 2018 purchased philanthropy cords to support a class gift – a scholarship for future students.

Outgoing Student Government Association President Sibora Peca, of Metuchen, led the class in the ceremonial turning of the tassel, signifying their graduation.

Sixty members of the class of 2018 earned 4.0 GPAs and will now transfer to some of the nation’s top four-year colleges and enter the workforce.

Commemorating the 1967 hiring of Bergen’s first president, Sidney Silverman, Ph.D., and the approval of the master plan that developed the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road, the institution launched its 50th anniversary celebration last fall. A committee led by honorary co-chairs Bergen County Executive Tedesco, Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur and retired Executive Vice President Virginia Laughlin directed the institution’s efforts related to celebrating the anniversary.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, 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.

# # #

College Inducts Trio as Professors Emeriti

Judith Rae Davis, Ed.D.; Joan Tscherne, Ph.D.; and Bonnie MacDougall, Ph.D.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Selected by a committee of their peers, three retired Bergen Community College professors have earned the rank of “professor emeritus” in recognition of their impact on the institution and its students. The College celebrated the latest inductees, Judith Rae Davis, Ed.D., Bonnie MacDougall, Ph.D., and Joan Tscherne, Ph.D., during a May 4 luncheon at Seasons in Washington Township. In Bergen’s 50-year history, 51 faculty members have now earned the professor emeritus designation.

“As a faculty member for much of my career, I had the privilege of working with Judi, Bonnie and Joan on projects that enhanced student learning, faculty teaching and the institution as a whole,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “This group exemplifies the intent of the professor emeritus program – to recognize those who made significant contributions to the College.”

Davis, of Warwick, New York, taught English for 29 years at Bergen, serving as chair of the department, while also leading the general education, strategic planning and faculty development committees. A past recipient of the “best article of the year” honor from the National Two-Year College English Association, Davis received the NISOD Excellence Award for Teaching and a Princeton Mid-Career Fellowship. She developed Bergen’s online professor program for new online faculty still in use today.

MacDougall, of Vero Beach, Florida, mentored students at all levels of learning during her 29-year career, teaching a range of classes from English-as-a-Second-Language to honors Shakespeare. MacDougall began at Bergen in 1986 and would eventually serve the College in numerous leadership roles including coordinator of the American Language Program and interim academic vice president.

Tscherne, of Hasbrouck Heights, held positions such as physical science coordinator, department chair and interim dean of science during her 28-year-career at Bergen. After beginning as an adjunct in 1989, she would earn a full-time position in 2004. Tscherne championed numerous student and faculty development projects, including the Partners in Learning initiative, a mentorship program for new professors. She served as grand marshal of commencement 2017.

The professor emeritus program began in 1988 with the induction of former dean Alan Buxton. Selection relies on many factors, including exemplary teaching and scholarship. Professor Kate McGivern leads the five-member committee charged with choosing honorees after receiving nominations from academic divisions and faculty.

Bergen has celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, commemorating the 1967 hiring of its first president, Sidney Silverman, Ph.D., and the approval of the master plan that developed the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road. A committee led by honorary co-chairs Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur and retired executive vice president Virginia Laughlin directed the institution’s efforts related to celebrating the anniversary.

Since its inception, Bergen has grown into the state’s largest community college with approximately 14,000 students taking classes this semester. No. 1 in the state for associate degree graduates, alumni have studied at every Ivy League institution and rank 11th in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to Payscale.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #

Bergen Graduation Celebrates Past, Present and Future

More than 2,000 students will graduate as part of the class of 2018.

PARAMUS, N.J. – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will help close Bergen Community College’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration as the institution recognizes its class of 2018 graduates during its annual commencement ceremony Thursday, May 17 at 10 a.m. at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. More than 2,000 students will earn associate degrees and certificates. The College has ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degree graduates four consecutive years.

With a nod to the institution’s 50th anniversary, this year’s event will acknowledge the College’s past and present while looking toward the future. The event will begin with a dual processional of current and former graduates, faculty and staff before a series of vignettes, musical performances and special recognitions – “50 years of success stories.” President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., will preside over the ceremony, which will also feature remarks by Gov. Murphy, Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III and class of 2018 valedictorian Zaina Laaroussi.

Laaroussi, of Fort Lee, will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of two-year colleges, and the Student Government Association. Her address will focus on perseverance through adversity and the importance of progress.

Retiring Executive Assistant to the President Ursula Parrish Daniels, Ed.D., will serve as the grand marshal.

Bergen’s first commencement ceremony took place in 1970.

Commemorating the 1967 hiring of Bergen’s first president, Sidney Silverman, Ph.D., and the approval of the master plan that developed the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road, the institution launched its 50th anniversary celebration last fall. A committee led by honorary co-chairs Bergen County Executive Tedesco, Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur and Professor Emeritus Virginia Laughlin directed the institution’s efforts related to celebrating the anniversary.

Since its inception, Bergen has grown into the state’s largest community college with approximately 14,000 students taking classes this semester. No. 1 in the state for associate degree graduates, alumni have studied at every Ivy League institution and rank 11th in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to Payscale.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #

College Couture at Student Fashion Show

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College fashion apparel design students transformed the student center at main campus (400 Paramus Road) into a red-carpet runway made for Manhattan during the annual “FAB and the Beat of Bergen Fashion Show” May 3. A standing-room-only crowd gathered to see the latest in student-designed, -made and -modeled fashion as Bergen music students set the scene. Students work alongside fashion design coordinator professor Mary Bays to begin stitching their fashion career as part of the evening talent showcase. Photos from the event can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bergencc/albums/72157668589992308. Bergen’s fashion apparel design program offers a comprehensive two-year curriculum highlighting milestones and current trends, textile science, conceptual design, sewing and garment construction and collection development.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #

Federal Gov. Recognizes Bergen Study Abroad Program

PARAMUS, N.J. – The U.S. Department of State has recognized Bergen Community College as one of the nation’s top institutions for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. Three Bergen students earned the study abroad program’s scholarship last year, placing the College ninth in the country among associate degree granting institutions for awardees.

“Studying abroad enables students to develop new worldviews and participate in learning on a global scale,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides opportunity for students who may not otherwise had access to this enriching experience.”

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program, administered by the Institute of International Education, aims to diversify students who study and intern abroad as well as the countries and regions they visit.

Bergen represents one of only two colleges in New Jersey to appear in the rankings (Brookdale Community College has one Gilman scholar). Portland Community College and San Antonio College tied for first with 11 awardees each. For a full list of the institutions by category, visit www.GilmanScholarship.org/TopGilman.

In 2016-17, Bergen students Lauren Mitchell, of Ridgewood, Casandra Borchers, of Midland Park and Geraliz Jimenez, of Paterson, studied in Japan and Spain.

“Receiving a Gilman Scholarship obviously helped me financially, but in the months leading up to the announcement it really motivated me to do my absolute best,” Gilman scholar Borchers said. “I actually surprised myself with how much I was willing to take on in order to prove that I truly wanted to study abroad.”

In total, 11 students have earned the scholarship since 2011. International student counselor Amparo Codding coordinates Bergen’s study abroad program.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, with the support of the U.S. Congress, is reshaping study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students. The Gilman Program broadens the U.S. student population that studies and interns abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s establishment in 2001, over 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 25,000 Gilman scholars to 145 countries around the globe.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #

Nearly 400 Celebrate Bergen’s 50 Years

Supporters from throughout Bergen’s 50-year history attended the anniversary gala April 19.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Almost 400 Bergen Community College faculty, staff, students, alumni, retirees and supporters celebrated the institution’s 50th anniversary during a gala fundraiser April 19 at the Venetian in Garfield. Presented by the College board of trustees, President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., and the Bergen Community College Foundation, proceeds will provide student scholarships and educational support. The signature event of a yearlong anniversary celebration featured dinner, dancing, live music, a silent auction, College memory displays, games and other activities designed to recognize Bergen’s 50-year history.

“It is fitting that this gala is dedicated not only to honoring this College, and all that it does, but to raising greatly needed scholarship funds for students – some of whom may go on to change the world,” President Redmond said at the event. “It is humbling and moving to look around this room and see so many friends of the College and know you are here because Bergen means something to you.”

Government officials U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III, Bergen County Freeholders Mary Amoroso and Germaine Ortiz, state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, state Assemblyman Robert Auth and state Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi delivered proclamations recognizing the College’s 50-year record of success stories. Sen. Menendez also presented President Redmond with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in Bergen’s honor.

Event sponsors were Decotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP; Follett; SUEZ; Aspire Technology Partners; Bergen County Education Association; Hackensack University Medical Center; and RSC Architects.

In addition to proceeds from the event, supporters contributed to the College’s “$50 for 50” fundraising campaign, which has already raised more than $100,000. At the conclusion of the campaign, donors will have their name included on a recognition wall in the main campus student center. Visit tinyurl.com/bergen50 to donate.

Commemorating the 1967 hiring of Bergen’s first president, Sidney Silverman, Ph.D., and the approval of the master plan that developed the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road, the institution launched its 50th anniversary celebration last fall. A committee led by honorary co-chairs Bergen County Executive Tedesco, Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur and Professor Emeritus Virginia Laughlin directed the institution’s efforts related to celebrating the anniversary.

Since its inception, Bergen has grown into the state’s largest community college with approximately 14,000 students taking classes this semester. No. 1 in the state for associate degree graduates, alumni have studied at every Ivy League institution and rank 11th in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to Payscale.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls more than 14,000 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.

# # #

College Hosts Lunch for Local Leaders

PARAMUS, N.J. – As part of the institution’s 50th anniversary celebration, Bergen Community College hosted more than two dozen elected officials for “A Legislative Lunch” April 12 at its main campus to strengthen ties with its federal, state, county and municipal officials. The event featured a discussion on the mission of community colleges like Bergen, lunch prepared by culinary students and tours of the College’s campus. Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., (pictured) and New Jersey Council of County Colleges President Aaron Fichtner, Ph.D., both provided remarks. Additional attendees were:

  • Victor Anaya, Executive Director of Finance, Bergen Community College
  • Hadar Arazi, Aide, Rep. Josh Gottheimer
  • John Birkner, Mayor, Westwood
  • Dotty Blakeslee, Trustee Treasurer, Bergen Community College
  • Kathy Canestrino, Deputy Mayor, Hackensack
  • Francesco Caramagna, Mayor, Elmwood Park
  • Gerard L. Carroll, Trustee Vice Chair, Bergen Community College
  • Ursula Parrish Daniels, Ed.D., Executive Assistant to the President, Bergen Community College
  • Patrick Fletcher, Trustee, Bergen Community College
  • George Fosdick, Mayor, Ridgefield Park
  • John Glidden, Mayor, Closter
  • Waldon Hagan, Ph.D., Vice President of Student Affairs, Bergen Community College
  • Mark Longo, Trustee, Bergen Community College
  • Bianca Madzarova, Aide, Sen. Cory Booker
  • Tammy Molinelli, Executive Director, Workforce Investment Board
  • Bill Mullaney, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bergen Community College
  • Germaine Ortiz, Vice Chair, Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • Carol Otis, Trustee Chair, Bergen Community College
  • Kurt Peluso, Deputy Mayor, Fair Lawn
  • John Ruocco, Mayor, Hillsdale
  • Peter Rustin, Mayor, Tenafly
  • Norman Schmelz, Mayor, Bergenfield
  • Linda Schwager, Mayor, Oakland
  • John Smart, Mayor, Haworth
  • Thomas Sullivan, Chair, Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • Lisa Swain, Mayor, Fair Lawn
  • Paul Tomasko, Mayor, Alpine
  • Stephanie Von Rudenborg, Councilwoman, Hackensack
  • Joan Voss, Ed.D., Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • Tracy Silna Zur, Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls more than 14,000 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.

# # #

Student Art on Display at Gallery Bergen

Various works by Bergen students.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College art club students will present their work in Gallery Bergen’s latest exhibit “Student Art at Bergen” beginning with an opening reception on Thursday, April 12 at 5 p.m. Various works by talented students will be on display through May 4.

The exhibition features artwork in a variety of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, collage, digital art, animation, video and fashion. The annual event, organized by the Art Club under the direction of professor Claire McConaughy, is a creative showcase for all students at the College to exhibit their art on campus.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Bergen.edu/gallery or contact gallery director Chris Bors at [email protected] or (201) 879-8817.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #

College’s On-Campus Preschool Earns Accreditation

Child Development Center Director Sally Dionisio said nearly 1,100 children have enrolled in the program.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Child Development Center preschool at Bergen Community College has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a leading early childhood education professional organization.

“Our center helps provide our county’s youngest students with a foundation to develop and encourage a lifelong love of learning,” Child Development Center Director Sally Dionisio said. “Once students have a love of learning, it will inspire them to succeed in the future. Obtaining NAEYC accreditation validates our program’s effectiveness in fostering this early passion for education.”

To earn NAEYC accreditation, programs voluntarily commit to a self-study process that evaluates their effectiveness and quality in 10 key areas including curriculum, teaching practices and staff development. The accreditation process requires school staff to prepare reports on their programs before inviting NAEYC evaluators to visit their sites. After affirming a program’s quality and dedication to continuous improvement, evaluators grant the program a five-year accreditation. Nationwide, approximately 7,500 preschools have earned the group’s stamp of approval.

Bergen’s center, located in Ender Hall at the College’s main campus, has provided early childhood education opportunities for approximately 1,100 two- through six-year-olds since its inception in 1982 under its first director, Ursula Parrish-Daniels, Ed.D.

Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, center enrollees include the children of College faculty, staff and students and those from the greater Bergen County region. As a laboratory school, the center provides an on-campus observation, demonstration, field and workforce training site for the College’s students, who use the center to fulfill their course requirements relating to child development.

Led by certified teachers, the center features two classrooms that support both hands-on play and the development of academic concepts in math, science, social studies, language arts and the creative arts. Children also have access to computers, an outdoor play area and learning resources such as a community garden.

Children can enroll in either a full- or part-time schedule. The center operates from September until the end of the College’s summer II classes, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Children of College faculty, staff and students receive discounted tuition. For more information, or to schedule a visit, please call (201) 447-7165.

Bergen, New Jersey’s largest community college with approximately 14,000 students taking classes this semester, ranks No. 1 in the state for associate degree graduates. Alumni have studied at every Ivy League institution and rank 11th in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to Payscale. Its resources include the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center – twice recognized as the top tutoring center in the U.S. – and satellite campuses in Lyndhurst and Hackensack. The College has recognized its 50th anniversary in 2017-18.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #

Bergen Guys and Dolls Bring Show to Ciccone Theatre

(From left) Keila Haskins, of Fort Lee, as Adelaide; Kevin Bergen, of Glen Rock, as Nathan Detroit; Kristina Craig, of River Edge, as Sarah Brown; and Matthew Rella, of Glen Rock, as Sky Masterson.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Bergenstages theater troupe will conclude their season of student-run productions with a classic hailed by many as the perfect musical comedy, “Guys and Dolls.” Based on the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows – and featuring one of the most popular musical scores by Frank Loesser – the crowd-pleaser will open at Bergen Community College’s Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre (400 Paramus Road) on Friday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City is the backdrop for “Guys and Dolls.” Gambler Nathan Detroit tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck; meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years. Nathan turns to fellow gambler Sky Masterson for the dough, and Sky ends up chasing the straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown as a result. From the heart of Times Square to the cafes of Havana, Cuba, and even into the sewers of New York City, the musical features memorable show tunes including “Luck Be A Lady,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “A Bushel and a Peck” and “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat.”

The show runs Thursdays through Saturdays from Friday, April 6 to Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m.­­ – with a special sign interpreted performance on Friday, April 13. On Saturday, April 7 and 14, matinee performances will take place at 2 p.m.

Show ticket prices for the general public are $15, with discounts offered to senior citizens, Bergen faculty and students. Guests can purchase tickets by calling (201) 447-7428 or online at tickets.bergen.edu.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 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.

# # #