40 years of pride, service and excellencce
We are rapidly approaching Cumberland County Colleges 40th anniversary. In October, 1966, Cumberland was the first community college in New Jersey to open its own campus. An official 40th anniversary ceremony will be held Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. in the Guaracini Arts Center.
I have been CCCs president for eight years, which is a little less then one-fourth of the time that CCC has existed. But I am quite aware and proud of the rich history of this vital community resource.
After all, some of the employees hired in the 60s still work at CCC, and they share their experiences from the good old days when they were pioneers in what has become a truly American success story in higher education the community college.
I admire the employees who started in the 60s because they are still passionate about their careers. Theyve been lighting up the lives of countless students for nearly four decades, and our long-time employees are still driven to challenge students to turn their dreams into obtainable goals through education.
Some of these heroes who come to mind include John Adair, Nick Bokma, Katherine Daniels, John Gibbs, Walter Johnson, Sharon Kewish and Clair Miller. And Joyce Garton and William Olivero were hired when the college opened in 1966.
Joyce told me that the colleges initial students and employees dealt with a host of inconveniences. Temporarily incomplete science labs, large gaps in industrial technology equipment, a library located four miles away on Landis Avenue and straight chairs with no desks in the classrooms. But according to Joyce, there was an air of excitement on Cumberlands incomplete campus. A neighborhood college offered quality education at a reasonable cost.
About 350 students enrolled in the class of 1966. During the intervening years, more than 11,000 students have graduated from the college. More than 70 percent of CCCs graduates were the first in their families to earn a college degree.
And our trailblazing first-in-the-family graduates forever changed their families cultures. They served as role models for their brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers who were inspired by these graduates to earn their own degrees from CCC.
Their courage and success makes life better in Cumberland County.
Cumberland is truly a community college. Just about every resident has directly or indirectly benefited from its services or contributed to its successes. So during Cumberland County Colleges 40th anniversary, lets all take a moment to proudly reflect on our neighborhood college, a uniquely American innovation.