Semester Bustling at CCC: A Tribute to Jo Lockette

9/26/03


By Kenneth L. Ender, Ph.D. President

Fall semester is bustling at Cumberland County College. For the first time, more than 3,000 students enrolled at CCC. Consuelo Diaz, who is advised by CCC Counselor Jesse Delgado, was the 3,000th student to register, so she instantly became a milestone in the college’s history. Official fall semester enrollment is 3,112 students.

CCC continues to grow and serve a diverse community. Every hour during days, evenings and weekends, scores of students make their way to classes in the various buildings on the campus. They are bright, lively and optimistic. They are excited about their futures.

The college attracts high school graduates and adult learners from every corner of the county. Students are attending to improve their employment skills by taking career-oriented courses, while others are getting a solid base for their bachelor’s degrees. Students are choosing CCC in record numbers because the college’s faculty and staff are respected throughout the community. They are dedicated professionals who really care about students and student success.

Students are also taking advantage of a new opportunity this semester. For the first time, CCC is offering junior- and senior-year Fairleigh Dickinson University courses on campus. Enrollment is brisk for the FDU courses, and that’s good news for individuals and our local economy because students are able to pursue bachelor’s degrees without leaving the county. Students typically stay in the county where they receive their degrees.

Growth brings certain challenges, and we appreciate the patience and positive attitudes of those putting up with temporary inconveniences. The college is paving the way for its growth with $14 million in current construction projects, including a new campus physical design with new entrances and increased parking. Construction also includes the George Luciano Family Center for Public Service and Leadership, the renovated enrollment services/student center, and the distance learning center addition to the library.

So there’s plenty of dust, and some areas of the campus are temporarily off limits due to the construction. But there will be a great reward when everything is completed. The new facilities will enhance the college’s operations as a learning-centered institution, where student needs come first.

The college recently lost a major advocate and role model for the learning-centered, students-come-first philosophy. We mourn the loss of Josephine A. Lockette (Jo), the legendary Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program director at CCC, whose recent death saddened the college and hundreds of people in the community. Jo, also known as “Sunshine” throughout Cumberland’s campus, had an amiable manner and a bright smile, but she was all business when it came to student success.

Jo had high expectations of the students and employees at CCC. In her good-natured way, Jo led by example and pushed us all to be our best. This attitude that Jo instilled will be prevalent on campus for years to come. This is Jo’s legacy. Every time a student overcomes an obstacle to succeed in a class or walks across the stage at commencement, we will think of Jo.

Just last week, the college implemented “Pathways,” a program for CCC employee professional development that fosters leadership and improved effectiveness. Of course, Jo was a member of our “Pathways” planning team, and through this program, Jo’s work will forever be embedded in CCC’s culture.

God bless and thank you, Jo Lockette.