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 (, 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.

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