College to Host NJCAA Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship June 2-5

CRANFORD – Union County College is proud to serve as host of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship from June 2-5, 2021. The tournament will include eight teams from across the country competing in a series of eight games held between June 2-3 with a final championship game on Saturday, June 5. All games will be played at Union County’s Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey.

The eight teams to compete in the tournament, in order by seed are: #1 Dallas College – Brookhaven (Texas), #2 Delta College (Michigan), #3 Mohawk Valley Community College (New York), #4 Rowan College of South Jersey Gloucester (New Jersey), #5 Herkimer County Community College (New York), #6 Union County College (New Jersey), #7 Elgin Community College (Illinois), and #8 Suffolk County Community College (New York). This is the Lady Owl’s second appearance at nationals. Union first competed in the national championship in 2018, also seeded sixth of the eight teams, and finished the season ranked third in the nation. The Lady Owls were also recognized with the National Tournament Sportsmanship Plaque for the team whose actions on and off the field have demonstrated fairness, respect, honesty, unselfishness, and responsibility.

The tournament games on June 2 and 3 are at 11am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, and 7pm. The championship game will be on Saturday, June 5 at 1pm. Tickets for the day are $10 each. Tickets for access to the entire tournament are $20 each. Tickets will be sold at the entrance to the athletic field at Oak Ridge Park and will be cash only.

“We are proud to host the NJCAA Women’s Soccer Championship right here in Union County! It is an honor to showcase our region on the national stage. These student athletes have worked incredibly hard under very unusual circumstances to get to this tournament. We welcome them and wish them all the best of luck,” stated Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

For more information about Union’s soccer program, and all the NJCAA athletic offerings, please visit www.unionowls.com.

College Establishes University Center at the Scotch Plains Campus to Open Fall 2021

Students can continue their studies towards specific baccalaureate degrees at Union in the University Center at the College’ Scotch Plains campus.

CRANFORD – Union County College is proud to announce the fall 2021 opening of a University Center at the College’s Scotch Plains campus, located at 1776 Raritan Road. This location is shared with the Union County Vocational Technical Schools and the John H. Stamler Police Academy.

The University Center will provide students seeking their baccalaureate degree in select programs the opportunity to continue their education at a local Union County College campus with our four-year partner institutions. Currently, Kean University will offer three baccalaureate programs, Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Supply Chain Management, and Saint Peter’s University will offer both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Several other prestigious institutions and programs are forthcoming. The Scotch Plains campus will also offer students an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Liberal Studies programs.

Additional potential four-year partners have expressed interest in joining this unique opportunity to increase the array of in-demand programs being offered in our County. Dr. Bernard Polnariev, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Scotch Plains Campus stated, “We are very excited to re-open our Scotch Plains campus with this collaborative and innovative way of offering access to four-year degrees to our graduates. Our goal in Scotch Plains is to provide an even more seamless transfer option for our graduates. Moving forward, students who enroll at Union will know from the beginning that they can plan well beyond their two years at Union to obtain career-focused baccalaureate degrees programs. We continue to seek partners who are as student-centered and student-ready as we are.”

“Graduates of the College can now continue on to their four-year degrees here on a Union County College campus right ‘in their backyard.’ It is a cost effective and convenient way to earn a baccalaureate degree as Union brings popular programs and partners to the Scotch Plains campus,” said Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

For more information on Union’s University Center at the Scotch Plains campus, including the link to the application to Kean and Saint Peter’s, visit www.ucc.edu/universitycenter and to register for the fall at Union, visit www.ucc.edu/fall.

College Announces Educational Partnership and Scholarship with Western Governors University

CRANFORD – Union County College (Union) and nonprofit, accredited Western Governors University (WGU) announced the signing of an agreement that creates pathways for Union employees, graduates, and students to earn a WGU degree. As part of the agreement, WGU will apply credit earned at the associate level at Union toward a bachelor’s degree at WGU. In addition, Union employees, graduates, and students will be able to apply for specially designated WGU Community College Partner Scholarships. Union County College is an open-access public, two-year college that provides a high-quality education at an affordable price.

“Union County College is excited to partner with WGU to provide additional opportunities for our graduates to continue their education, particularly at an affordable price. Cost is an important factor, and we appreciate that WGU is cognizant of that fact. Ultimately, we know that a more educated workforce and community is a stronger workforce and community. Through this partnership, we are happy to help provide further opportunities for our graduates to reach their educational goals,” stated Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

WGU offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the high-demand fields of business, information technology, K-12 education, and healthcare, including nursing. WGU’s competency-based, high-quality and low-cost learning model allows students to accelerate at their own pace. Asynchronous courses allow students to log in and study whenever their schedules permit. Tuition is around $3,250 per six-month term for most undergraduate degree programs, and students can take as many courses per term as they and their mentors are comfortable with.

“Partnering with Union County College will make it possible for their graduates and employees to complete their degree at a low cost, without disrupting their lives,” said Regional Vice President Rebecca Watts, Ph.D. “After they are admitted and enroll at WGU, our online, competency-based model allows working adults to advance their careers, with personalized support from a faculty mentor.”

Watts continued, “At a time when so many people are in need of higher education opportunities that align with employer and industry needs, WGU is thrilled to partner with UCC to advance our mission of providing higher education access to historically-underrepresented communities, like working adults.”
WGU degree programs include undergraduate and graduate degrees in cybersecurity, human resource management, data management/data analytics, information technology management, business management and leadership, and healthcare management. To learn more, go to www.wgu.edu.


About Union County College
Union County College, the oldest of New Jersey’s 18 community colleges, is a public, two-year community college that has been serving transfer-oriented and career-minded students since 1933. The College currently offers more than 60 academic programs. With campuses in Cranford, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, and a presence in Rahway, the College has a reach across the whole of Union County. The College’s mission is “transforming our community, one student at a time,” which is accomplished by providing a high-quality, affordable, and accessible education. In 2019, Union County College received the prestigious recognition of being named one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. The College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

About Western Governors University
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 133,000 students nationwide and has more than 210,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 24 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.

Foundation Raised Over $155,000 for Student Success

Three Union students hold the “Big Check” presented to the Foundation from the golf committee. From left are Union County College Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse, Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel, Union students, Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, and Golf Committee Co-Chairman John Richel.

CRANFORD – Over two hundred golfers, diners, and volunteers from around New Jersey and beyond joined together at the Union County College Foundation’s 29th Annual Scholarship Golf Outing. Held on April 26, this event raised over $155,000 in support of its mission to accelerate the pace of student success. The annual Golf Outing is held each spring and the Foundation was pleased to host the event at Fiddler’s Elbow in Bedminster, NJ. 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 in furtherance of the core mission of the College, to provide students with a high-quality and affordable education.

This year, White Claw Hard Seltzer was the key sponsor for the golf outing. Their support will help the Foundation continue to expand the opportunities available for Union students.

“Thank you to White Claw for being this year’s signature sponsor for our golf outing. Your corporate leadership in support of our mission will translate into our ability to have a positive impact on student success. White Claw is helping to ease the financial burden on our students that will allow them to focus on their academics and graduate,” stated Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse.

This year’s golf committee was comprised of 16 members of our community who led the charge to ensure a successful day for everyone. “As we have all seen over the past year, trying to organize and produce a successful event has been trying. The pandemic has impacted everything that we do. However, our committee did not sit idly by but instead worked tirelessly so that we could have a great day for all our golfers. Their dedication to our mission helped make this year’s outing one of our most successful,” stated Doug Rouse.

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.

College Welcomes New Wrestling Coach BJ Young

CRANFORD – Union County College has hired BJ Young, of Jackson, as our new wrestling head coach. For the past five years, he has served as the assistant wrestling coach at his alma mater, Jackson Memorial High School. He has successfully helped build the program for which he set many records. When he is not training athletes in the technique and strategy of wrestling, you can find him competing as a professional MMA fighter.

BJ attended Newberry College, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II institution from which he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education leisure services. In his four years at Newberry, he was a four-time national qualifier, a three-time NCAA All American, a two-time NCAA National Finalist, and holds the record for 143 all-time wins for the College.

While attending Newberry, BJ began his coaching experience during his internship in 2015. At the same time, he coached youth and high school students at an elite wrestling club in New Jersey, of which many went on to become state champions.

In addition to the accolades he received while wrestling, BJ has been inducted into the following: the 2016 New Jersey Shore Conference Wrestling Hall of Fame for his individual accomplishments, the 2018 Jackson Memorial Hall of Fame, and to the 2019 NJ Shore Conference Wrestling Hall of Fame for the success of the 2007 Jackson Memorial High School team.

“BJ is an excellent addition to our coaching staff, and he is working on building our team for winter 2022 competition,” stated Union’s Dean of College Life Tammy Smith. “BJ is dedicated to the sport and in developing student-athletes who are successful on the mat and in the classroom.”
For more information on Union’s wrestling program, contact Union County College Director of Athletics Shawn Noel at (908) 709-7495 or shawn.noel@ucc.edu.

College Welcomes Non-Traditional Students, Those with Credits and No Degree

Union students in the Academic Learning Center at the Cranford campus.

CRANFORD – In support of the State’s 65 by 25 initiative, for 65% of adults to have earned a post-secondary credential by 2025, Union County College reminds residents that registration for summer and fall classes is open now. There is an increasing demand for a skilled labor workforce who have post-secondary credentials, and currently, less than 50% of adults in Union County have a college degree. Individuals who have never attended college or those who have credits but no degree are encouraged to enroll.

Union County College offers affordable tuition, with no increase for the 2021-2022 school year. This is the second year in row with no increase. For those who have college credits, Union accepts transfer credits. On top of the affordable tuition, eligible students may attend the College tuition free. Those who enroll in at least 6 credits and have an adjusted gross income of $0-$65,000 may be eligible for New Jersey’s Community College Opportunity Grant. There is no separate application for this grant. Students who complete the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application are automatically considered.

The College offers a flexible array of scheduling options. Students build a schedule that works for their needs. Classes are offered face to face on campus, in Cranford, Elizabeth, and Plainfield, with the Scotch Plains campus re-opening in the fall; remote live; and online. The College offers more than 60 programs of study including supply chain, cybersecurity, business, criminal justice, education, and more. Of that, currently 17 programs are offered completely online.

Students are encouraged to register now to create their ideal schedule. Payment for fall classes is not due until August 5. Fall classes start on Wednesday, September 1. If you need assistance, our student services centers are open in Cranford, Elizabeth, and Plainfield. For those who are unable to visit campus, we also offer remote student services. The application to Union, link for remote student services, and more information can be found at www.ucc.edu/fall.

“We know there are many adults in Union County who want or need to pursue a college degree: to change careers, to be considered for a promotion, or whatever your reason may be. Union County College is here to help you. We are an affordable, flexible option right in your own backyard. We provide excellent support to our students: our goal is to help you earn your degree. Every member of our faculty and staff is laser focused on student success,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

For more information and to search for classes and register, please visit www.ucc.edu/fall or call 908-709-7000.

Women’s Basketball Team Named NJCAA Region Champions for Fourth Consecutive Year

Union County College women’s basketball team at the Region 19 Championship game.

CRANFORD – Union County College’s women’s basketball team won the title of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 19 Champions for a fourth consecutive year. For the title, the Lady Owls defeated Lackawanna College, 73-42 on April 3, 2021.

For a second year, sophomore Brianna Mills was named the Tournament MVP. Head coach Marbely Montas, a Union alumna from the class of 2007, was named Region 19 Coach of the Year for a fourth time. With this win, the Lady Owls now advance to compete against Region 20 champion Potomac State College of Keyser, WV in the East A District Championship. This game will be played on April 10 at 3pm at Raritan Valley Community College. The winner of this game advances to the NJCAA National Championship held from April 20-24.

“We are very proud of the Lady Owls for once again winning the title of NJCAA Region 19 Champions,” stated Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “This past year has been particularly difficult for our student-athletes due to delays and restrictions from COVID-19. These young women have worked hard to remain focused on their athletic and academic goals and their efforts have paid off. We wish them luck in their next game.”

For more information on the athletics programs at Union, visit www.unionowls.com

Union County College Graduates Now Attending Elite Four-Year Colleges

Union graduates Beianka Tomlinson, Kamilla Kocsis, and Vasiliki “Vas” Vlastaras.

CRANFORD – Union County College is proud to announce that three of the College’s spring 2020 graduates are continuing their educations at prestigious colleges and universities. Kamilla Kocsis is attending Dartmouth College, Beianka Tomlinson is attending Princeton University, and Vasiliki “Vas” Vlastaras is attending Georgetown University.

While each of these three graduates had their own journey, there is a common thread: they all wanted to start their college experience at an affordable school that provided a high-quality education and was close to home. Once at Union, to further grow, they sought out engagement and leadership opportunities through their involvement with student clubs, American Honors, and the honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK).

Kamilla Kocsis, of Rahway, has continued her studies at Dartmouth College with a major in international relations. At Union, Kamilla was an American Honors student with a 4.0 GPA. She served as president of the College’s Model United Nations Club, was a Cranford Senator for the Student Government Association (SGA), and served as Co-VP of Scholarship for Phi Kappa Theta, the international honor society for two-year colleges. In 2020, Kamilla was named a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholar. This prestigious award includes up to $40,000 per year in financial support to attend a four-year college or university. Kamilla was selected as one of only 50 recipients out of almost 1,500 applicants.

Beianka Tomlinson was accepted as one of only 13 transfer students admitted to Princeton University for the fall 2020 semester. Beianka graduated from Union with a 4.0 GPA and her Associate in Science degree in chemistry. While attending Union, she was an American Honors student, served as SGA President, and was a member of PTK. Beianka also served as a tutor in the College’s Academic Learning Center (ALC) which provides free peer-to-peer tutoring to students. At Princeton, Beianka is majoring in chemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine as a cardiovascular surgeon.

Vas Vlastaras, of Union, is now attending Georgetown University. She is majoring in government with a minor in modern Greek. While at Union, Vas was also an American Honors student. She served as SGA Secretary, Vice President for the American Honors Council, Fellowship Committee Leader for PTK, and worked as an ALC tutor. Vas graduated from Union with her Associate in Arts degree in public administration. Vas headed to the right city for her future goals: she hopes to become a lobbyist or campaign staffer.

“Each of these three outstanding students made their mark at Union before moving on to their dream four-year schools. Their hard work and dedication has paid off. As Kamilla, Beianka, and Vas did, we welcome all students to start their higher education journey at Union: earn an affordable and excellent education and then go on to attend the four-year school of your choice. We look forward to seeing what they do next,” stated Union President Margaret M. McMenamin.

Registration for the fall 2021 semester is open. To apply to the College with our free application, search for classes, and to learn about financial aid and more, visit www.ucc.edu/fall or call 908-709-7000.

Union County College Board Member Receives Trustee Spotlight Award

CRANFORD – On March 22, 2021, Union County College Board of Governors member Jeffrey H. Katz, Esq., of Springfield, received the Trustee Spotlight Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC).

Mr. Katz has served Union County College’s Boards for more than 25 years. In the 1990s, he served on the College’s Board of Trustees. Since 2010, he has been a member of the College’s Board of Governors. He has also been a member of the College’s Foundation Board for 19 years. In addition to his longstanding membership, he has served in leadership roles within the Boards. He is a past Chair of the Foundation Board and currently serves as Chair of the College’s Buildings & Grounds Committee.

The NJCCC provides statewide leadership related to the advancement of New Jersey’s 18 county colleges. The NJCCC Trustee Spotlight Award was created by Dr. Felix “Phil” Linfante to recognize a trustee who’s been a strong proponent for their local community college. Dr. Linfante currently serves as Chair of the NJCCC.

“I am pleased that the NJCCC chose to recognize one of Union’s Board members with this award. Jeff Katz is an exemplary Board member and civic leader. He generously gives of his time and expertise for the benefit of the College and its students. We are fortunate to have him as a valued member of our Boards,” stated Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel.

Tuition-Free Community College Available at Union County College

In Sept. 2018, Governor Phil Murphy visited with Union students when he announced the initial pilot of the New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant at the Cranford campus.

CRANFORD – On February 26, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed tuition-free community college into law. New Jersey’s Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) provides last dollar support for eligible residents to attend community college tuition-free. New Jersey is now one of only 16 states with programs making college free to its residents. Union County residents who are eligible for CCOG may attend Union County College tuition-free.

New and continuing students who enroll in at least 6 credits at Union for fall 2021 and have an adjusted gross income of up to $65,000 will automatically be considered for CCOG if they have filled out their FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application. There is no separate application for this grant.
CCOG is available to both recent high school graduates and working adults. This includes those who have earned college credits but no college degree. At Union, transfer credits from other two-year and four-year institutions are accepted.

Registration for fall 2021 is open. Students are encouraged to register now to create their ideal schedule. The application to Union is free and can be found at www.ucc.edu. Fall classes start on Wednesday, September 1.

The College offers more than 60 programs of study including supply chain, cybersecurity, business, criminal justice, education, and more. Courses this fall are available face to face, online, and remote live. Graduates of Union County College enjoy easy transfer to four-year colleges or universities.

“Free Community College is a game changer in New Jersey. A college degree helps create economic mobility. We are grateful to Governor Murphy for his commitment to community colleges and this investment in our students. With college loan debt being such a burden, Union County College is the most affordable option for residents of Union County to pursue a college degree. And now, thanks to Governor Murphy, that cost may be as low as zero,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

For more information about CCOG at Union, visit www.ucc.edu/tuitionfree. To and to search for classes and register for fall, please visit www.ucc.edu/fall or call 908-709-7000.