President, new students participate in first-time experiences this fall


More than 4,000 students registered for fall semester courses at Cumberland County College, and many of these students are freshmen. They are experiencing the freedoms and responsibilities of college life for the first time.

I feel a bond with the new CCC students because I will also participate in a first-time experience this fall. A three-day Presidential Inauguration Ceremony will be held on campus in a few weeks. The students will host inaugural events Oct. 14. The President’s Installation Ceremony will be held Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Frank Guaracini Jr. Fine and Performing Arts Center. And the President’s Inaugural Ball will be held Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the gym.

Inaugurations are held within a year after a new president has been hired. At CCC, this milestone event is a chance for us to reflect on the college’s past, assess the present and look ahead to the future. It’s called the President’s Inauguration, but it could be called the Cumberland County College Inauguration, because this is a celebration of the college’s rich 44-year history and a commitment to our next chapter of providing quality higher education for residents.

The college’s initial students and employees were pioneers who dealt with a host of inconveniences. But there was an air of excitement on Cumberland’s incomplete campus when it opened more than four decades ago. A neighborhood college offered quality education at a reasonable cost. Since the college opened, more than 13,000 students have graduated, with countless others making use of the college’s resources as stepping stones to brighter futures.

Cumberland is truly a community college. Sixty-eight dedicated men and women have served on the college’s board of trustees since CCC was the first community college in New Jersey to open its own campus on Oct. 17, 1966. That’s why we are dedicating a new fountain at the campus’ main entrance near the student center as the Trustees’ Fountain, in memory of William F. Milam, a former trustees’ chairman. The fountain will be dedicated and turned on at a ceremony this Thursday at 11 a.m.

From CCC’s courageous beginning to our proud present, residents have stepped forward to offer their time and expertise to lead the college on the path to success. We have to continue this proud tradition and strive to provide even more opportunities for our students to succeed, since educated people provide professional services and leadership for our community. The theme of my presidency is Engage, Inspire and Transform, which applies to students and the community. I will discuss this theme and how it applies to my vision for CCC’s future at the Presidential Installation.

It’s certainly humbling to be the focal point of this celebration by the college and community. CCC employees, students and residents are working hard to plan the events. Colleagues and family members will be traveling here from throughout America and the world. I’m excited and a little nervous, just like some of our freshmen students. But I’m extremely proud, and I truly believe that the best days are yet to come for our college and community.