Union County College Foundation Raised $225,000 for Scholarships and Honored First Lady Tammy Murphy and Business Leader Harvey Hirschfeld at Annual Gala

CRANFORD – The Union County College Foundation raised more than $225,000 in support of its mission to accelerate the pace of student success at its 27thAnnual Scholarship Gala held on Oct. 25. The Gala, the Foundation’s signature fundraising event, brings together key community and business leaders to help fund scholarships and emergency funding for Union County College students. Over the past four years, the Foundation has funded over $4.5 million in scholarship and grant support to further the core mission of the College to provide students with a high-quality and affordable education.

This year, the First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy was a guest of honor for the evening and received the 2019 Fiat Lux Award for her commitment to Union’s students and for improving lives through education. Harvey Hirschfeld, Chairman and CEO of Westbury Management Group, was recognized with the 2019 Man of the Year Award for his years of service and support of the College. Mr. Hirschfeld is a member of the Union County College Board of Governors and the Foundation Board. 

“Our two honorees have made a significant impact on the lives of Union students with their contributions to our student success initiatives. We are grateful for their continued support of the Foundation. Helping ease the financial burden on our students allows them to focus on their academics and graduate,” stated Executive Director of the Foundation, Doug Rouse. 

The Foundation would like to thank all the Gala sponsors for their generosity and extend a special thank you to the following companies: LawCash; Oritani Bank; Boston Advisors, LLC; DSM; Celgene Corporation; Cleary Giacobbe Alfieri & Jacobs LLC; Elizabethtown Gas; Infineum USA L.P.; Investors Bank; and PSE&G. 

For information about the Foundation’s annual events, please contact the Executive Director of the Foundation, Doug Rouse at douglas.rouse@ucc.edu or (908) 709-7505. 

With Union students are the honorees, Harvey Hirschfeld and First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy (center). Also pictured are Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel (left) and Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin (second from left). 

Aspen Institute Names Union County College as a Top 150 U.S. Community College Eligible for 2021 Aspen Prize

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2019 — The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Union County College as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Based on strong and improving in student outcomes—including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“At Union County College, every day we live our mission of transforming our community, one student at a time. We are honored that the Aspen Institute is recognizing Union as an elite community college based on the incredible efforts of our faculty and staff, and the support of the College’s Boards and Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Students are #1 at Union, and the invitation by the Aspen Institute to apply for this award is an acknowledgement of our commitment to student success,” stated Union President Margaret M. McMenamin.

The 150 community colleges named today as eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 500 students and as many as 75,000 students, these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector.

Data show that over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re pleased to see evidence that these institutions are improving, that more are delivering on their promise. We’re also pleased to play a role in honoring outstanding community colleges and sharing what works to ensure great outcomes for students—through graduation and beyond.”

The top ten finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished jury will make award decisions in spring 2021.

Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are: Miami Dade College (FL) and Indian River State College (FL), 2019; Lake Area Technical College (SD), 2017; Santa Fe College (FL), 2015; Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA), 2013; Valencia College (FL), 2011.

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.

# # #

The Aspen Prize is generously funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.


The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/ and www.linkedin.com/showcase/aspenhighered and follow @AspenHigherEd on Twitter.

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

 

Union County College Names New Members to Its Board of Trustees and Board of Governors

CRANFORD – At the September 24, 2019 Joint Meeting of the Union County College Boards of Trustees and Governors, two new members were sworn in. Dr. Kamran Tasharofi, of Clark, will serve as a new Trustee. Gordon L. Vickers, of Westfield, will serve as a new Governor. Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel welcomed Dr. Tasharofi and Mr. Vickers to the meeting and initiated their swearing in.

Dr. Kamran Tasharofi is a specialist in internal medicine and is a faculty member at Rutgers School of Medicine. He is also a certified medical review officer in Union County and a civil surgeon for New Jersey’s Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Tasharofi serves as the Medical Director at MD Care Urgent Care Center in Elizabeth and Amber Court of Elizabeth.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from California State University at Northridge and earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Ross University School of Medicine. Dr. Tasharofi is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association.

Gordon L. Vickers recently retired from Express Scripts Holdings, Inc., where he served as a National Account Executive, technical support team leader, and technical consultant since 1999. He served as a team leader and was responsible for maintaining and expanding overall business relationships with large health plans in the Eastern and Central markets in the U.S. During his career he also worked for Merck and Co., Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Public Service Electric and Gas Co.

Mr. Vickers earned his M.B.A. from Boston University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of New Hampshire.

“Both Dr. Tasharofi and Mr. Vickers bring valuable personal and professional experiences to the boards. The College will greatly benefit from their unique perspectives,” stated Union’s Board of Trustees Chairman Victor M. Richel.

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs that serve the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 20,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.

 


Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, Dr. Kamran Tasharofi, Gordon Vickers, and Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel.

Union County College Foundation to Honor First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy and Businessman Harvey Hirschfeld

CRANFORD – Join the Union County College Foundation on Oct. 25, 2019 to celebrate the 27th Annual Scholarship Gala at The Westwood in Garwood, NJ. Held to raise money for scholarships, the funds will help accelerate the pace of student success and further the core mission of the College, to provide students with an affordable, accessible, and high-quality education.

This year, the Foundation will honor Harvey Hirschfeld, Chairman and CEO of Westbury Management Group, as the 2019 Man of the Year. Mr. Hirschfeld is a member of the Union County College Board of Governors and the Union County College Foundation Board. He will be honored for the years of service he has given in support of improving student outcomes. The second honoree of the evening will be First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy who will receive the 2019 Fiat Lux Award for her commitment to Union’s students and improving lives through education. “Both of these individuals have had a tremendous impact on our students. No words can express our deep appreciation for their commitment and support of our mission,” stated Executive Director of the Foundation Doug Rouse.

This year’s event is a “Masquerade Gala” and masks will be handed out to guests upon arrival. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction. At 7:30 p.m. the main festivities of the evening will begin with dinner, followed by the presentation of honoree awards, support of the mission, and dancing.

For the past four years, thanks to the support provided by the Scholarship Gala, the Foundation has provided more than $1 million in scholarships and aid to Union students. This event is an exciting opportunity for you to help change the lives of hundreds of students.

For more information about attending the Gala, call Executive Director of the Union County College Foundation Doug Rouse at (908) 709-7505. To learn how you can contribute to scholarships for Union County College students, please visit the Foundation’s website at www.uccfoundation.org.

 

Dr. Martha Kanter was Keynote Speaker at Union County College’s Convocation

CRANFORD – On Sept. 3, Dr. Martha J. Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and former U.S. Under Secretary of Education from 2009-2013 under President Obama, was the Keynote Speaker at the Annual Convocation of Union County College. Held at the Cranford campus, Dr. Kanter addressed members of the College community with her engaging presentation, “Making and Keeping the College Promise: One Community at a Time.”

Dr. Kanter leads the College Promise Campaign, a national initiative to increase college access, affordability, quality, and completion at the nation’s community colleges. The goal is to maintain the College Promise so that students can complete their college degrees and certificates without the burden of unmanageable debt.

“Thank you to Dr. Kanter for energizing our faculty and staff for the new academic year by identifying how the College has embraced the College Promise Campaign,” stated Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “Her presentation reinforced how the College’s mission executes the vision of the Campaign and provided recommendations on ways to further support college access and student success.”

After her presentation, Dr. Kanter led a panel discussion that focused on how to expand the resources needed by students today. The panel members were James W. Horne, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Union County; Bianca Mayes, Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), and Health and Wellness Coordinator for Garden State Equality; Drs. Mandana Ahsani and Melinda Norelli, Union County College faculty members; and Victor Jasper, a current Union student who is majoring in social services.

In addition to her role as Executive Director, Dr. Kanter is a Senior Fellow at New York University’s Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy. She specializes in policy efforts to identify and apply innovative, evidence-based education interventions, financing models, and behavioral incentives to raise America’s high school and college graduation rates. As the U.S. Under Secretary of Education, she oversaw all federal postsecondary statutory, regulatory, and administrative policies and programs, including the $175B annual federal student aid programs, higher education, adult education, career-technical education, international education, and six White House Initiatives. From 1993-2009, she was president of De Anza College and then chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Silicon Valley, California. She began her career as an alternative high school teacher in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Dr. Kanter holds a B.A. degree in sociology from Brandeis University, an M.Ed. from Harvard University, and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco.

 

Union’s Vice President for Administrative Services Dr. Athos Brewer, Union’s Vice President of Student Development Dr. Demond T. Hargrove, Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, Dr. Kanter, Union’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Maris Lown, Union’s Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Scotch Plains Campus Dr. Bernard Polnariev, and Vice President of Financial Affairs and Treasurer Lynne A. Welch.

Uniform Construction Code Courses Offered at Union County College

CRANFORD – The Office of Continuing Education at Union County College is offering Uniform Construction Code courses this semester for individuals interested in construction and licensure. These programs have been approved by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

Fire Inspector H.H.S. is a 60-hour hybrid program designed to prepare students to obtain licensing in the Fire Protection discipline of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code after they have completed the Fire Inspector I.C.S. program. Course work includes the building use groups, types of construction, height and area, fire protection systems, and means of egress. Students will learn when the building codes require such systems and equipment in newly renovated structures, along with the standards for systems installations and acceptance testing. Textbook information is provided the first day of class. The in-person session will be held on Saturday, September 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Cranford campus. Online sessions will be held through the Canvas learning platform on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, September 23 through November 7 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. The cost of the Fire Inspector H.H.S. program is $650.

Building Inspector R.C.S. is a 90-hour hybrid program which provides students with the educational information on building code requirements for medium-sized industrial and commercial structures. This course covers the following: structural systems, structural designs and analysis techniques, fire protection systems, systems design and installation practices, mechanical systems, general requirements of electrical and plumbing sub-codes, and plan review and field inspection. The in-person session will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the Cranford Campus. Online sessions will be held through the Canvas learning platform on Monday and Wednesday evening October 7 through December 23 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. The cost of the program is $785.

The Electrical Inspector H.H.S. course is 45 hours in length and covers electrical service and sizing, branch circuit and feeder design, appliance and motor circuits, plan review and field inspection, systematic plans analysis, material requirements, installations methods, basic inspection, report writing, violations notices, inspection and recordkeeping. The course will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from October 8 through November 26 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The prerequisite for this course is Electrical Inspector I.C.S., and the cost of the program is $525.

For more information on these classes, please view the Continuing Education brochure online at www.ucc.edu/ce. To enroll online through Instant Enrollment, go to www.ucc.edu/continuing-and-professional-education-and-workforce-development/continuing-education/instant-enrollment/. One can also enroll by calling the Office of Continuing Education at (908) 709-7600 or by visiting the office on the Cranford campus.

Rebecca Pagan Named the New Women’s Volleyball Team Head Coach

CRANFORD – Union County College has named Rebecca Pagan, of South Orange, as its new head women’s volleyball coach. Coach Pagan brings more than eight years of coaching experience to Union.

“I am very excited to have Coach Pagan join our coaching staff. Her enthusiasm for the game of volleyball is infectious and our student-athletes will benefit from the extensive knowledge and experience she brings to Union from having coached both high school and collegiate teams,” stated Union County College Director of Athletics Shawn Noel.

In 2015, she began coaching at VB Rags Volleyball Academy in Fairfield. In 2018, she also became the Head Coach for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston and led their women’s varsity team to compete in the semifinals, a first in the school’s history. This fall Coach Pagan is excited about competing at the collegiate level and is ready to help the Lady Owls launch their new season.

Coach Pagan grew up in Puerto Rico and began playing volleyball in high school. She continued playing at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico when an injury in her sophomore year forced her to change her plans of becoming a professional athlete. Instead, she pursued coaching to remain involved with the sport. Her coaches at Pontificia were the first to offer her a position. In 2014, she moved to the U.S. to expand her coaching opportunities.

Coach Pagan earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. She is licensed in New Jersey as a sports massage therapist and holds her IMPACT-USA Volleyball Certification.

For more information about the athletics at U

Are You Eligible for Tuition-Free College at Union County College This Fall?

CRANFORD – Union County residents may be eligible to attend Union County College tuition-free this fall through the New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant. The Grant was recently extended and expanded by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Students who have an adjusted gross income up to $65,000 may be eligible for funding. This is a $20,000 increase from the prior income cap in spring 2019 of $45,000. With this change, additional residents of Union County may be able to take advantage of tuition-free college.

County residents who fall within the income range and who want to earn their associate degree may be eligible. This includes individuals with college credits but no degree and those who have never attended Union. Eligible students may attend part or full-time and take classes on campus or online.

To receive funding, new and returning students must file the Free Application for Student Assistance (FAFSA) or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application for NJ Dreamers. Students must have been a County resident for at least one year and meet the adjusted gross income level. The grant will cover the full cost of tuition and approved educational fees for a minimum of 6 credits and up to 18 credit hours.

With the fall semester approaching, interested Union County residents are encouraged to fill out the free application to the College at www.ucc.edu, complete their financial aid application, and register for fall classes. The fall semester at Union starts on Sept. 4. Students must register for classes by Sept. 3.

“Union County College is excited to offer this opportunity. With the expansion of the income level to $65,000, we will be able to help more Union County residents earn their degree and achieve their dream of becoming a college graduate,” stated Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “At Union County College, we know that an education opens doors and improves the lives of our county’s residents and their families.”

For more information about the program, go to www.ucc.edu and click on “Tuition-Free College.”

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 20,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

Excited Union County College graduates at the May 2019 Commencement Ceremony.

Medical Marijuana: Medicinal and Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis Presented on Sept. 19

CRANFORD – The Office of Continuing Education at Union County College is offering a 2-hour program on Medical Marijuana: Medicinal and Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis on Thursday, September 19 at the College’s Cranford Campus beginning at 6 pm. The State of New Jersey is now making it easier for patients to access medical marijuana. Are you looking for facts about the effects of cannabis and what conditions it can treat? Join a panel of three health care professionals who will discuss the latest research on how cannabis works; the benefits as well as the side effects and risks of use; and how New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program works.

Panelists for this program include Dr. Michelle L. Shuffett, MD, a healthcare executive, strategist, and wellness enthusiast with 20 years of experience encompassing a unique blend of medical practice, communication skills, and leadership. Her expertise lies at the intersection of health and wellness, and she strives to change perspectives on cannabis and to improve the understanding of the industry by bridging the gap between traditional and alternative medicine.

Dr. Monica Taing is a graduate of Northeastern University with a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree where she completed Endocannabinoid Receptor System research. Dr. Taing serves as a Board Member and the Membership Director of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), the Director of Research and Clinical Education for Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), and as a Medical Science Liaison for 4Front Ventures. She also is a cannabis pharmacist (clinical consultant specialist) for Columbia University’s Northeast/Caribbean AIDS Education Training Center (NEC-AETC), hospital systems, and academic medical institutions.

Dr. Kirten Parekh, DPM is a foot and ankle reconstructive surgeon and limb salvage specialist as well as a consultant and investor in a cannabis startup. Jennifer Cabrera, an attorney with Vicente Sederberg LLP, the nation’s premier law firm serving the cannabis industry, will be facilitating the program.

The program will run from 6 to 8 pm at the College’s Cranford campus located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. With a registration fee of $49, all members of the public are invited to enroll online using Instant Enrollment, at www.ucc.edu/continuing-education/instant-enrollment. One can also enroll by calling the Office of Continuing Education at (908) 709-7600 or by visiting the office at the Cranford campus.

Union County College Foundation Raises Nearly $75,000 for the Close the Gap Campaign

CRANFORD – On July 17, the Union County College Foundation celebrated a historic night by raising nearly $75,000 at their 4th Annual Close the Gap Cocktail Reception. The Close the Gap initiative was established by key community leaders and elected officials to support the College’s strategic initiative to accelerate the pace of African American student graduation rates. This year, the Foundation honored Frank A. Bolden, Esq. for his years of service as a member of the Union County College Board of Trustees and his generous support of the Close the Gap campaign.

Assemblyman Jamel Holley, one of the campaign’s first supporters and honorary chair for the event, spoke about how the College identified the issue facing the African American students and developed a strategic response that has helped quadruple the African American male graduation rates. He was joined at the event by Close the Gap supporter Assemblywoman Linda Carter. Freeholder Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella, along with Freeholders Andrea Staten and Angela Garretson, also spoke highly of the successful initiative and presented Mr. Bolden with a resolution outlining his many accomplishments that have made Union County College one of New Jersey’s best community colleges.

Since the start of the campaign in 2015, over $200,000 has been invested in scholarships, support, student programming, and emergency funding to help African American students who are on course to graduate but need additional financial assistance. The great success of this program is a direct result of the dedication of the volunteers as well as the College’s student development and academic teams that have ensured every student would have access to a high-quality education.

When presenting Mr. Bolden with his award, Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel stated, “The College is thankful for Mr. Bolden’s continued support and service to improve the lives of Union students. He is a dedicated volunteer who has given much of his personal time and energy supporting the Close the Gap campaign to help increase the graduation rates of African American students.”

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help accelerate the pace of student success and support the Close the Gap Campaign, or would like to learn more about how you can provide financial assistance for students at Union County College, please call (908) 709-7505, email foundation@ucc.edu or visit the Foundation’s website at www.uccfoundation.org.

Union County College Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse, Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella, Freeholder Andrea Staten, Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, Mr. Frank Bolden, Assemblyman Jamel Holley, and Freeholder Angela R. Garretson.