Atlantic Cape Community College awarded 850 associate in arts, associate in science and associate in applied science degrees at the school’s 47th commencement, Thursday, May 22. New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks delivered the keynote address.
Dr. Peter L. Mora, Atlantic Cape president, presented an honorary associate in arts degree to Hendricks and honored Dr. Martin Marino of Galloway with the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award.
Tom Innocente received the President’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes an Atlantic Cape graduate who has distinguished him or herself through professional, personal, public or community-based accomplishments. Innocente, of Somers Point, was a member of the first Atlantic Cape class and had a distinguished 30-year career as a New Jersey State Trooper. He has taught criminal justice courses at Atlantic Cape since 1983, and in 2006 became a full-time professor.
Diane T. McKoy of Mays Landing, president of the Atlantic Cape Foundation Board of Trustees, received the President’s Distinguished Foundation Board Member Award, which recognizes a current or past member of the board who has demonstrated leadership, advocacy and support on behalf of the college and its students. As a member of the Foundation Board, she has chaired the Restaurant Gala Committee, the Finance Committee and Scholarship Selection Committee, and served on the cabinet of the college’s first capital campaign, Create Opportunity.
High honors student Kenneth Kin of Galloway, who achieved a perfect 4.0 average, delivered the class farewell. Kin earned an associate degree in communication.
After completing his coursework in December, Kin enrolled at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and began classes this spring. His goal is to work in production or on-air for a local radio or television station.
“For some of you, perhaps this day could not get here quickly enough. For others, it seems we are leaving much too soon. Either way, I hope you were able to take advantage of some of what the college has to offer. I joined the Radio Club since working in radio has always been my dream,” Kin said. “That opportunity led to my involvement with the Student Government Association, which then led to being a student-member on the Enrollment Management Committee. I helped co-create the Atlantic Cape News Minute, and later joined the TV Club. All of those opportunities flowed out from just one: the opportunity to attend Atlantic Cape.”
Student Government Association President Ines Rosales of Egg Harbor Township, who will transfer to Long Island University in Brooklyn, N.Y., this fall, told the graduates: “As we walk away from this school today as graduates, I can’t leave without telling you how proud of us everyone here is today. But, most importantly, I can’t leave without telling you how proud you should be of yourself. I don’t know if it has taken you 2, 5, 10 or 20 years. It does not matter. What matters is that you finished, because this journey isn’t about the people that start but, instead, the people that finish. That is you sitting in that chair this morning.”
Briar Gibbons of Egg Harbor City was elected by the student body to serve as alumni representative to the college’s board of trustees, and was recognized. She earned an associate degree in communication.
Maria Torres, board of trustees vice chairperson, conferred and presented degrees to the graduates.