Atlantic Cape Community College awarded 921 associate in arts, associate in science and associate in applied science degrees at the school’s 50th commencement, Thursday, May 18. Stephen R. Dunn, president of Atlantic Cape Community College’s first graduating class in 1968, delivered the keynote address.
Dr. Barbara Gaba, who celebrated her first commencement since becoming Atlantic Cape’s ninth president, presented an honorary associate in arts degree to Dr. Peter Oudemans, Beacons by the Sea Visiting Professor, and honored Rita Michalenko of Mays Landing with the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award.
High honors student Paolina Holman of Egg Harbor City, who achieved a perfect 4.0 average, delivered the class farewell. Holman earned an associate degree in general studies. She shared with graduates her hesitation on going back to school after a 30-year hiatus, but how her determination overcame that. “The path to graduation has not been an easy ride. I think I speak for all when I say the cares of life do not stop because you have to study for a test. Still, we have met our responsibilities with diligence. We have stayed up many late nights, studying and sacrificed gorgeous sunny weekends with our noses in the books. But it was worth it. We have kept our eyes on the prize and today we claim it, sharing the moment with those that love us and have cheered us through highs and lows,” Holman remarked.
In honor of the college’s 50th anniversary, six recipients were selected for the 2017 President’s Distinguished Alumni Award, one representative from each decade. The 2017 recipients are: Robert L. Vogel, ’68 of Savannah, Georgia; Dr. Brian Kirchner, ’78 of Absecon; MaryAnne Figueroa, ’88 of Hammonton; Academy of Culinary Arts Chef Educator Joseph Sheridan, ’96 of Somers Point; Dr. Carole Dieterly, ’08 of Berinigsville, Pennsylvania; and Kimberly Richardson, ’10 of Mays Landing. The award recognizes an Atlantic Cape graduate who has distinguished him or herself through professional, personal, public or community-based accomplishments.
Stephen Nehmad of Egg Harbor Township, member 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.
Jenna Deluca of Folsom was elected by the student body to serve as alumni representative to the college’s Board of Trustees, and was recognized.
Dave Coskey, Board of Trustees chairperson, conferred and presented degrees to the graduates.
Note: The list of graduates is available on Atlantic Cape’s website: www.atlantic.edu by selecting Class of 2017 List of Graduates from the Headlines. The list includes students who have or are expected to complete the requirements for an associate degree in the 2016-2017 school year.