More than 2,000 students graduated from Brookdale Community College on May 15 during the college’s 45th annual commencement ceremony on the Lincroft campus.A total of 2,069 students from 16 different countries earned associate degrees from the college, with diplomas handed out during two ceremonies held in the Robert J. Collins Arena. The class of 2015 included 208 distinguished scholars and 41 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
“You make us incredibly proud,” said Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy. “I cannot tell you how much we value your hard work and all of your achievements as Brookdale students. As you move on to the next phase of your journey, please stay in touch. We want to know what you are doing and we want to celebrate your continued success.”
A total of 1,129 students earned associate in arts degrees; 462 earned associate in applied science degrees; 440 earned associate in science degrees; five earned associate in fine arts degrees; and 38 earned academic credit certificates.
Honorary degrees were also awarded to commencement speakers David Prown and David Goldman.
Prown, of Red Bank, is the owner and manager of Prown’s Home Improvements, a third-generation family business serving Monmouth County. He has built a reputation as a staunch children’s advocate by working with local students of color and spearheading a wide range of youth service programs in the Red Bank area.
Prown’s initiatives include a mentorship program between students at Brookdale and Red Bank Regional High School, established in 2009, and the annual Red Kettle Classic Basketball Tournament.
He encouraged the graduates to look past themselves, and use whatever gifts and advantages they possess for the good of their communities.
“During your journey to get here today, you have had many supporters,” Prown said. “Now it’s time for you to repay that support, with your support of others. Busy yourself giving back. I have reaped tons of satisfaction from volunteering, and I highly encourage you to incorporate that spirit in your lives.”
Goldman, an Ocean Township native and current Holmdel resident, is the cofounder and director of the Bring Sean Home Foundation. The foundation began as a grass roots effort to bring home Goldman’s son Sean, who was abducted by his mother and taken to Brazil in 2004.
Since Sean was reunited with his father on Christmas Eve 2009, Goldman and the foundation have become prominent advocates for victims of parental child abduction.
College officials also presented Distinguished Alumni awards to Brookdale women’s soccer coach Katelyn Miller, who led the Jersey Blues to two consecutive national titles in 2013 and 2014, and Superior Court Judge Teresa Kondrup Coyle.
Six graduates were also recognized for their outstanding academic achievements: Nicholas Antonucci of Jackson; Amber Mallm of Freehold; Alexander McKenzie of Freehold; Patricia Prioli of Howell; Nicholas Sakowski of Aberdeen; and Adam Winkler of Manasquan.