Middlesex County College Dedicates New Building to Late Freeholder Director

EDISON — Family, friends and colleagues of the late Middlesex County Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel joined the college community Jan. 18 as its newest building was dedicated in his honor. Crabiel served on the freeholder board for 27 years – 13 of those as director – and was a legend in the county and state.

Crabiel Hall is a two-story, 36,000-square-foot building that holds 13 classrooms, four computer labs, two conference rooms, three meeting rooms, a student lounge, and a demonstration kitchen with a projection system so students can see up close what the instructor is showing. It also holds offices for the Division of Corporate and Community Education.


The building is environmentally friendly with numerous features designed to save energy and conserve resources. College officials expect the building to receive a silver LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Dave always said that one of the best ways to serve the public was to ensure they had the best opportunities for quality education at all levels,” said Christopher Rafano, the current freeholder director, who spoke at the ceremony. “Middlesex County College is truly one of the best partners the County has in serving our residents, and the addition of Crabiel Hall puts the College in an even better position to serve the current and future needs of our residents.”

Freeholder Ronald Rios, who served as liaison to the college, echoed his colleague.

“This is a school that is growing in a time of recession,” he said. “A school that is keeping pace with the changing needs of its students and a school that is proving itself time and time again to be the quality institution our residents deserve.”

In 1992, friends of Crabiel started the David B. Crabiel Foundation, which awards college scholarships to county residents. At the ceremony, representatives of the foundation announced that it was dissolving and turning over its assets to the Middlesex County College Foundation, which will continue to administer the scholarships. Carol Ann Herbert, the president of the Crabiel Foundation, presented a ceremonial check for $350,000 to Brian Daugherty, the chairperson of the College Foundation.

Paulette Wahler, Crabiel’s daughter, spoke lovingly and humorously of her father and talked about his accomplishments.

“Dad was such a dynamic person that he will leave a lasting impression for generations to come,” she said. “And this building is an honor for our family – to show future generations.”

In every speech he gave, Crabiel would close with the line: “Middlesex County is the greatest county in the land.”

Wahler paraphrased him: “If daddy were here today, he would not have wanted a building named for him, but if you insisted, he would say that ‘David B. Crabiel Hall is the greatest building, in the greatest county college, in Middlesex County, the greatest county in the land.’ ”

College President Joann La Perla-Morales talked about the history of the college and predicted a strong future.

“David B. Crabiel Hall replaces the last of the wooden structures from the Raritan Arsenal,” she said. “We have grown and we have had to change with the times. David B. Crabiel Hall bridges our past with the future. What connects the first days of the college arsenal site to our present is the continuing commitment of everyone at the college to provide access, opportunity and excellence for the residents of Middlesex County. No one worked harder for the citizens and the students of Middlesex County College than Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel. The building we are dedicating today will be a reminder of Dave’s support of the college.”

The celebration continued on Jan. 19 with a luncheon for Middlesex County College student leaders.

Also, high school students taking culinary classes visited the campus that day. They took a tour, heard a presentation on job-seeking skills, including resume writing and interviewing, and were treated to a cooking demonstration in the kitchen. Students in the Middlesex Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies also visited and heard a talk on the environmental aspects of the building from Donald Drost, the College’s executive director of facilities management; they also toured the building.

On January 20, the Edison Chamber of Commerce sponsored a business mixer breakfast and the College hosted a luncheon for community leaders.

The festivities concluded with the Middlesex County College Foundation’s annual Community Celebration, which honors donors to the Foundation and students who receive scholarships.

From left: David J. Crabiel (son of David B. Crabiel), College President Joann La Perla-Morales, Paulette Wahler (daughter), Freeholder Director Christopher Rafano, Dorothy K. Power, chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees, and Freeholder Ronald Rios. (Photo courtesy of Middlesex County College)

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