Cumberland Turns 50: Celebrating a Half Century of Accomplishments

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This year, Cumberland County College turns 50. During my short time at the College, I have met students who were part of the inaugural class. I have also met faculty who were members of the inaugural instructional team—a couple of whom still work at the College. To celebrate our half century of service, we will host a number of engagements with the community because these first 50 years of success would not be possible without strong and broad support from the community. Our year-long celebration will culminate with a 50th anniversary gala on May 6, 2017.

For 50 years, Cumberland’s motto has been “pride, service, and excellence”. It is a motto that is embraced by the community at large. From our grounds and facilities crew to our faculty and our executive team, the pride that we take in serving the students and the community is evident in the quality of experiences that students have and the level of care that we show our students. Stewardship of our college is also shared with our elected officials, various local agencies, and even the mayors of the cities and townships that make up our county. Their commitment to Cumberland can be seen in the support of activities, opportunities, and spaces that they create to help youth and adults in the County acquire the skills and competencies that will lead them to a better future.

As we celebrate our first 50 years, we thank and embrace all of those who have made it possible. We thank the visionaries who established our college. We thank our trustees and Foundation Board members who have invested their time and resources into the College. We thank the alumni and students who cross our threshold every day. We thank the faculty and staff for whom working at the college is more than a job; it is a vocation. We thank the community members who make our campus part of their daily lives, whether it is playing tennis on our courts, watching a little league game on our baseball field, enjoying a soccer match, or simply taking a stroll in our courtyards. Cumberland County College is a gem for this community.

This year, we’ll celebrate half a century of propelling students to opportunities to profoundly impact society through their careers, their civic involvement, and leadership at the local and global levels. We will also be looking ahead, visioning what the next 50 years might look like—working with all of our stakeholders to imagine Cumberland County College at 100. We invite you to reconnect or connect for the first time with us at cumberland50@cccnj.edu. Let’s dream and act together!

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Celebrating our Country’s 240th Birthday: So Many Achievements & So Much Promise Still

This weekend we celebrate our country’s 240th anniversary. Despite what some will have us believe, ours is still the greatest country on Earth. The proof is in the number of people who are clamoring to come here and to become citizens of the United States of America. Sure, we have our issues, but we are still the land of opportunity.

I was born abroad and have spent time in more than two dozen countries. Across the globe, people recognize that this is likely the only country where one can reinvent him or herself over and over again, a country where the caste you were born into doesn’t have to be the class that you die into. When the Pilgrims and the Puritans were looking for a safe haven, they turned to us. The Amish, the Mennonites, the Catholics, the Jews and others that escaped religious and political persecution, famine and economic instability, came here to start anew.

In Cumberland County, many have shared with me stories of their ancestors who settled here and worked the farms or worked in the factories to build wealth and a comfortable life for their children and grandchildren. Our goal at Cumberland County College is to keep the American Dream accessible for all. As our College turns 50 this year, we are renewing our commitment to keep creating ladders for economic mobility for all. The days of building wealth on a factory job that required no education beyond high school are long gone. Middle class jobs of the 21st century require a college credential, minimally.

In Cumberland County, keeping the American Dream alive and accessible is a shared endeavor. From our local Freeholders, to the local Improvement Authority, our Planning Board, and local public school districts—just to name a few—the commitment to higher education as a pathway to the American Dream is a shared value in Cumberland.

As we celebrate the 240th birthday of our country, we celebrate American leadership, entrepreneurialism, vision, can-do attitude, adaptability, openness, and compassion. These are just some of the attributes that make us great. Happy birthday to our extraordinary country! Happy birthday USA.