CRANFORD – On Wednesday, May 25, Union County College graduated over 1200 students, the largest class in the college’s history. During the 77th Annual Commencement Ceremony on the Cranford campus, graduates were awarded Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science degrees, certificates, or diplomas for successful completion of programs.
Victor M. Richel of Berkeley Heights, chair of the Union County College Board of Trustees, welcomed the graduates and guests. Richel announced that this year was a particularly noteworthy commencement, since it was the first ceremony for the college’s new president, Dr. Margaret McMenamin. Richel invited the newest group of alumni to remember their roots and to come back and celebrate with future graduates.
Dr. McMenamin then introduced the various dignitaries in attendance. State Sen Raymond J. Lesniak of Elizabeth was the keynote speaker and he congratulated the graduates on their achievement and wished them continued success in their future.
The graduates were also addressed by student speaker Robyn Miller Samuel, of Rahway, who was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Psi Beta Honors Society. She finished her classes at Union County College in December and already completed her first semester at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Samuel spoke about the many obstacles she overcame to complete her degree and declared herself, “A student that believes destiny is not the path given to us but the path we choose for ourselves.” In her speech she stated, “I stand before you, this afternoon, as an example of one who has overcome the ideas and obstacle of predetermined destiny, stereotypic prototype, and conditioned psyche. I stand before you today as the product of a great education.”
A highlight of the Commencement Ceremony was the presentation of the coveted Alumni Prize to Denisa Dundova of Elizabeth, the Class of 2011 graduate who maintained the highest grade-point average and earned the most credits at Union County College. This was followed by the presentation of The Post-Day Award, presented to the graduating student or students who best exemplify the college’s ideals of scholarship, leadership, and service. This year’s Post-Day Awards were given to Garnet Roberts-Baston and Robyn Miller Samuel, both of Rahway, and Magnolia Lopez of Elizabeth.
Pictured left to right: Union County College Post Day Award winners, Robyn Miller Samuel and Garnet Roberts-Baston, both of Rahway, and Magnolia Lopez of Elizabeth. (Photo courtesy of Union County College)
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