Board of Trustees Chair Vic Richel Serves as Co-Facilitator for International Middle States Webinar


CRANFORD – Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel served as a panelist for the International Middle States Commission on Higher Education webinar, “Applying, Assessing, and Documenting Effective Board Governance,” on December 8. The webinar was sponsored by AGB Consulting and addressed the topic of board governance.

Mr. Richel served as a co-facilitator for this event with the Chief of Staff at SUNY at Albany Dr. Bruce Szelest; Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Planning, Chief of Staff, and Secretary to the Board at Saint Peter’s University Dr. Virginia Bender; and Emeritus Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Penn College Board of Directors Dr. Blannie Bowen. Presenters were from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Vice Presidents Dr. Robert A. Bonfiglio and Dr. Sean McKitrick.

Mr. Richel has been a member of the Union County College Boards of Trustees and Governors since 1982 and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. In addition to the College’s boards, he has served on a number of boards within the community, including currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Trinitas Health and Regional Medical Center.

“As the Chair of our Board of Trustees, Mr. Richel has played a critical role in successfully navigating the changes and challenges we’ve faced over the years,” stated Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “He is an excellent leader and we are grateful for his steadfast dedication and service to the 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.

Santander Bank Donates $50,000 to the Union County College Foundation for New Scholarship

CRANFORD – The Union County College Foundation received a $50,000 donation from Santander Bank to fund The Santander First-Generation Honors Scholarship. This generous donation will provide a $2,000 scholarship to 25 Union Honors students over the next year to help them remain on track towards the completion of their associate degree or certificate. Many will later transfer to a four-year college or university with junior-level status.

To qualify for The Santander First-Generation Honors Scholarship, a student must be a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year honor society for community college students, or enrolled in the American Honors program at Union County College. Each student must be the first in their family to pursue a college degree, and preference will be given to students who are from underrepresented backgrounds.

“Santander believes in the power of education to shape our future generations and drive positive change in our local communities,” said Seth Goodall, Executive Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Santander Bank. “We are proud to support first generation students at Union County College and look forward to seeing their success in the years to come.”

“Today, more than ever, support of our Foundation from our corporate partners is vital to ensure our ability to have a transformative impact on our community. We are deeply thankful to Santander Bank for this generous donation that will ensure that a student’s economic reality is not a roadblock towards their academic success,” stated Union County College Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse. “The scholarship will cover a significant portion of tuition for the year and will allow the recipients to focus on their studies for their continued success.”

To learn more about how you can establish or donate to a scholarship with the Union County College Foundation and change the life of a student, call (908) 709-7505.

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.

Union County College Welcomes New Member to Board of Governors

CRANFORD – At the December 1, 2020 Joint Meeting of the Union County College Boards of Trustees and Governors, Brian Campbell, of Berkeley Heights, was sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors. Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel welcomed Mr. Campbell to the virtual meeting and initiated his swearing in.

Brian Campbell currently serves as Vice President of Investor Relations at Wiley, based in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is an investor relations officer with 22 years of experience in corporate finance, communications, marketing, and corporate development. Mr. Campbell grew up in Cranford, New Jersey and is a proud alumnus of Union County College from the class of 1995. Notably, all of Mr. Campbell’s six siblings also attended Union County College! After graduating from the College, he went on to earn both his Bachelor of Arts and M.B.A. from Rutgers University. Mr. Campbell has been annually named one of New Jersey’s Irish American Leaders since 2016 by Insider NJ.

“We are excited to welcome Brian Campbell to the Board of Governors. He brings his corporate and business acumen and perspective which will be of great value to our Boards and the College. We are particularly proud that as a distinguished alumnus, Mr. Campbell is so enthusiastic about serving his alma mater in this capacity,” 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.

Foundation Raised nearly $150,000 for Scholarships During its Virtual Casino Nights

From the virtual Casino Night, in the upper right is Lois Bass of Infineum USA, LP.

CRANFORD – Over a hundred guests from around New Jersey and beyond joined together in the Owl’s Nest Casino at the Union County College Foundation’s Virtual Casino Night. This two-night event held on October 29 and 30, raised nearly $150,000 in support of its mission to accelerate the pace of student success. The Virtual Casino Night took the place of the Foundation’s traditional Scholarship Gala, which is held annually each Fall. Thanks to the generosity and support of key community and business leaders over the last five years, the Foundation has had a generational impact on the Union County community by funding nearly $6 million in direct scholarship and grant support and further the core mission of the College, to provide students with a high-quality and affordable education.

This year, Infineum USA, LP, was honored as the 2020 Corporate Partner of the Year. Infineum has been a historic and avid supporter of Union students for many years. In addition to funding an endowed scholarship, they provide support for the College’s STEM Division and are key sponsors of all the Foundation’s signature fundraising programs.

“Infineum continues to have 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.

Union County College student Antonio Mena, of Cranford, addressed the attendees on each night of the event. He expressed that, “Without your support, I would not be here today. I received multiple scholarships from the Union County College Foundation, thanks to donors like you. The financial relief from those scholarships has made my parents so grateful. I can now continue my education and follow my dreams.”

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.

Union’s President McMenamin Recognized by ACCT with National CEO Award

CRANFORD – Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin has been nationally recognized by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) with the 2020 Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award. President McMenamin became a candidate for the national award after receiving the regional award. The award was given at the Association Awards presentation that was held during the virtual 51st Annual ACCT Leadership Congress on October 8, 2020.

“Union County College is extremely proud of Dr. McMenamin and all the positive changes she has brought to the College over the past ten years,” stated Victor M. Richel, Union County College Board of Trustees Chair. “Her commitment to our mission of Transforming Our Community, One Student at a Time is present in all she does to ensure that each person who seeks to improve their lives through education has an opportunity at Union County College for a high-quality education at an affordable cost.”

The Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award recognizes the tremendous contributions made by community college chief executive officers. Dr. McMenamin received this award for multiple accomplishments, one being the many initiatives she has spearheaded that led the College’s overall graduation rates to more than quintuple during her ten-year tenure with the College. To better assist our students with a modern real-world approach to student services, she established one-stop model Student Services Centers at our campuses, where students can go to a single location on campus and find assistance with admissions, placement testing, financial aid, student accounts, and advising. In addition to having served as the Chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Dr. McMenamin serves on many national, state, and local boards. Dr. McMenamin is passionate about Union’s students and the transformative impact of education, not just on the individual student but on the whole community.

The award is named in honor of Marie Y. Martin, whose professional career epitomizes positive influence on the community college movement at all levels. Martin formerly served as director of the Community College Unit, U.S. Office of Education, and as a chief executive in the Los Angeles Community District. The Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award is given by ACCT in recognition of chief executive officers who demonstrate commitment to excellence in advancing the community college movement.

Union County College Foundation Receives $15,000 Donation from Pen Company of America

CRANFORD – The Union County College Foundation has received a $15,000 donation from the Pen Company of America, based in Garwood, New Jersey. In the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a PPE shortage, the Pen Company of America pivoted from making pens and started producing PPE to help meet the needs of our community. The funds donated to the Foundation came from a portion of PPE sales.

Colleen Shea, Vice President of Sales of the Pen Company of America, noted that business slowed down initially during the pandemic until the company made the transition to production of PPE. Not only did this help their business stay busy, but it was a way to supply hospitals in the community with the PPE that they desperately needed and keep their staff employed.

With a donation to Union County College, the Pen Company of America is providing direct support to students in the community. Ms. Shea also has a personal connection to Union County College. Her daughter graduated from the College this spring with a degree in Sport Management.

The $15,000 donation was divided toward two separate funds: $5,000 is allocated to the COVID-19 Student Emergency Relief Fund which supports student financial needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. To date, this fund has raised almost $1 million thanks to the generosity of corporate and individual donors. The other $10,000 is going toward two scholarships established for nursing students.

“We are so appreciative of the Pen Company of America, a local business within Union County, who is supporting our students. Now more than ever, it is critical that unite to tackle the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Our hope is that with the help and support of our community and local businesses, like the Pen Company of America, we can ensure that our students are able to focus on their studies by assisting with basic needs and tuition,” said Doug Rouse, Union County College Foundation Executive Director.
If you have any questions about the Union County College Foundation’s mission in our community, please call the Foundation at 908-709-7505.

Union County College Received Three 2020 ACCT Northeast Regional Awards

CRANFORD – Union County College was recognized with three 2020 Northeast Regional Awards from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). The awards recognized the Union County College Boards of Trustees and Governors with the 2020 Equity Award, Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin with the 2020 Chief Executive Officer Award, and the College’s Secretary of the Boards Dr. Jaime Segal with the 2020 Professional Board Staff Member Award. The awards will be given at the Regional Awards Presentation that will be held during the virtual 51st Annual ACCT Leadership Congress in October 2020.

“Thank you to the ACCT for acknowledging the excellent work being done at Union County College. We are grateful to be recognized in three categories this year,” stated Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel. “We have an amazing group of board volunteers, a fearless leader in Dr. McMenamin, and dedicated staff members like Dr. Segal, who are committed to fulfilling our mission, ‘Transforming Our Community, One Student at a Time.’ Since the pandemic hit in March, their dedication to push forward and bring about positive change during challenging times has allowed the College to continue to provide Union students with the high-quality and affordable education they deserve.”

The ACCT represents more than 6500 elected and appointed trustees who govern more than 1100 community colleges throughout the United States. The ACCT annually recognizes trustees and other community college leaders in each of its five regions for their contributions.

The Charles Kennedy Equity Award is given to an institution’s board that achieves equity in the college’s education programs and services and in the administration and delivery of those programs and services. Union’s Boards of Trustees and Governors received this award for their support of the College’s Project Achievement initiative in which African American males are given dynamic advising and real-world exposure such as college visits and cultural exploration to inspire these students to “achieve.” From the start of the program in 2013, the initiative has more than quadrupled the African-American male graduation rate.

The Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award is given to CEOs who demonstrate a commitment to excellence in advancing the community college movement. Dr. McMenamin received this award for multiple accomplishments, one being the many initiatives she has spearheaded that led the College’s overall graduation rates to quadruple. To better service our students with a modern real-world approach to student services, she established new Student Services Centers at our Cranford and Elizabeth campuses, where students can go to a single location on campus and find assistance with admissions, placement testing, financial aid, student accounts, and advising. In addition to having served as the Chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Dr. McMenamin serves on many national, state, and local boards. Dr. McMenamin is passionate about Union’s students and the transformative impact of education, not just on the individual student but on the whole community. Her mission is to eradicate the obstacles to success faced by Union students and to give them the pathway to the American Dream they deserve.

The Professional Board Staff Member Award was established in 2001 and is given to any board staff member in recognition of exemplary service to boards. Dr. Jaime Segal has provided astounding support of the Boards in her three years in the position. One of her most notable achievements was when she converted the monthly in-person board meeting to a virtual event in less than one week’s time when the pandemic hit in March 2020. She also serves as the College’s Records Custodian and ensures that Union is compliant with New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Dr. Segal’s background in law is particularly useful in this role. From her training and experience she considers all implications, both positive and negative of all scenarios, and is careful in her approach to communicating all messages to both protect and enhance Union’s reputation.

For more information on the ACCT, please visit www.acct.org. For more information about Union County College, please visit www.ucc.edu.

The Trifecta: Cieslinski Triplets to attend Union County College

The Cieslinski sisters: Emma, Madison, and Alexis

CRANFORD – When the Cieslinski triplets, Emma, Madison, and Alexis, of Roselle Park, were little, their parents turned to sports to keep them occupied. They enrolled them in the town’s recreation t-ball program, not expecting them to become three outstanding softball players. Their talent on the softball diamond caught the attention of Shenandoah University in Virginia and Union County College, which plans on revitalizing the softball program in spring 2021.

With three student-athletes attending college at one time, all academic and sports opportunities were under consideration by the family. Although Shenandoah was a strong contender, Union moved up the list as the triplets learned more about the options offered by the College.

Then the pandemic hit in March 2020 and forced the triplets to entirely reassess their plans for College. Although Shenandoah made a generous financial offer for all three to attend, the triplets felt that given the current climate, starting their college education close to home and staying safe while being student-athletes at Union was the perfect match.

Emma qualified for NJSTARS, a state grant program that covers tuition for high achieving New Jersey high school graduates, and she is enrolled as an American Honors student where she will receive one on one academic and transfer advisement, have access to the American Honors lounge, and take honors courses. Alexis, who specialized in exercise physiology at the Union County Vo-Tech High School, plans to pursue our physical therapist assistant program. Madison is majoring in education and is happy to attend the same college as her sisters since they are a team.

The triplets played softball all four years for Roselle Park High School. In 2018, the team won the NJSIAA Group I State Championship. Alexis and Madison were named All-County Honorable Mention and Emma was named First Team All Conference. Emma plays first base; Alexis plays third base, outfielder, and pitcher; and Madison plays second base.

In addition to softball, Madison, a left midfielder, and Alexis, a forward, will play for the women’s soccer team led by Coach Angie Correia. Emma will join the women’s basketball team under Coach Marbely Montas. For the past two years, the women’s basketball team at Union County College has been the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIX Champions advancing to the national tournament.

“The Cieslinski sisters are already outstanding student-athletes, and Union looks forward to helping them grow as athletes and scholars over the next two years,” stated Dean of College Life Tammy Smith. “They are driven individuals who each have the energy and ambition to go far in their collegiate careers. We are excited that they are choosing to attend Union and we look forward to helping them achieve their goals.”

For more information about the athletic programs at Union, visit www.unionowls.com
For more information about Union County College, please visit www.ucc.edu

Union Students Benefit from the Generosity of the Summit Foundation

CRANFORD – The Union County College Foundation received a generous donation of $10,000 from the Summit Foundation (formerly the Summit Area Public Foundation) to fund scholarships for Union students. The Summit Foundation has served local communities by providing grants to address local needs for more than 50 years.

“Union students appreciate the support provided by the Summit Foundation,” stated Union County College Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse. “The Summit Foundation works to improve the lives of those in their community and we are thankful they have chosen to support our students.”

The grant issued by the Summit Foundation will support the Union County College Foundation’s Operation Graduation program. This student success initiative was developed six years ago and has had a dramatic impact on the students at Union and has helped hundreds of students graduate on time. Over the past six years, the graduation rate at Union County College has more the quadrupled.

For more information about how you can make the difference in the life of a student at Union, please contact Union County College Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse at Douglas.rouse@ucc.edu

Union County College Foundation Welcomes Four New Trustees to its Board

CRANFORD – The Union County College Foundation inducted four new trustees during its June Board meeting. The trustees are F. Jim Della Sala of Summit, Qubilah Goodson of Franklin Park, Gene Janotti of Garwood, and Mary Caye McCourt of Westfield. The four new trustees all believe in the mission of the Foundation and that education is an asset that can promote economic mobility.

F. Jim Della Sala, of Summit, is the Chief Financial Officer for Wilmington Trust, a part of M&T Bank. As a community college graduate, he understands the financial impact that education can have on lower income students. When he is not at work, Mr. Della Sala spends time at St. Teresa’s Church, on the field with the Summit Soccer Club, and volunteering with the Summit Performing Arts Club.

Qubilah Goodson, of Franklin Park, is the Assistant General Counsel for Dow Jones & Company, Inc. She provides thought leadership and legal advice on a host of commercial and corporate matters to senior business leaders in the organization. She is also the law department coordinator for the legal intern program in which law students receive practical experience during law school. Ms. Goodson is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta, Trenton Alumnae Chapter, a non-profit that provides assistance to local communities. She is also a member of the New Jersey Association of Black Women Lawyers.

Gene Janotti, of Garwood, has spent more than 25 years in management at New York Tel, NYNEX, Bellcore, Verizon, and Atlantic Yellow Pages. In the past 14 years, he has led a team of 400 IT professionals at General Dynamics where they build nuclear submarines, tanks, and destroyers for the U.S. Army and Navy. Mr. Janotti also volunteers, as CEO of the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce and President of the Board of Trustees for the Union County Performing Arts Center. He is also a past Board member for the Trinitas Hospital Foundation.

Mary Caye McCourt of Westfield is self-employed and became interested in feeding local college students when she saw a TV segment on food insecurity. She and her husband created a fundraiser and reached out to their friends and family members for donations. To ensure the funds would assist local college students, Ms. McCourt reached out to the Foundation and made the donation to Union County College.

“The Foundation is proud to have these four community-focused individuals join our Board. With their leadership experience and the continued dedication of all our volunteers, we hope to expand the Foundation’s mission further into the local communities and continue to provide the needed support for students at Union County College,” said Doug Rouse, Foundation Executive Director.

If you are interested in learning more about how you change the lives of Union students, email Doug Rouse at douglas.rouse@ucc.edu or call (908) 709-7113. To learn more about the Union County College Foundation go to www.uccfoundation.org