A total of 2,047 students will be graduating from Brookdale this year, with diplomas handed out during a 10 a.m. and a 3 p.m. ceremony at the Robert J. Collins Arena, 765 Newman Springs Road.
Commencement speakers and Monmouth County natives Norma Hardy and Bernard Weinstein will receive honorary degrees from the college for their personal and professional achievements.
Hardy, of Neptune, serves as assistant police chief with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD), where she is the highest-ranking female officer in department history. In her first assignment with the PAPD in 1993, Hardy was awarded a medal for valor for her heroic rescue efforts following the Feb. 26 terror attack on the World Trade Center.
Today she also serves as chief of New Jersey aviation with the PAPD, where she oversees Newark International and Teterboro airports. She has received numerous awards in her career, including Officer of the Year from the International Association of Women Police.
Weinstein, of Freehold, is a semi-retired attorney and a veteran of World War II. He has been practicing law in Monmouth County since 1964 while working as a vocal advocate for fellow veterans as a member of multiple veterans organizations.
He is a current member of the Brookdale Student Veterans Club and an ardent supporter of lifelong education, taking 68 courses at the college over the last 27 years. His current passion is the work of William Shakespeare.
College officials will also present Distinguished Alumni Awards to Emily Chapman and Selma Morris.
Chapman, an Ocean Township native and alumna of the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park, won $50,000 and defeated celebrity chef Robert Irvine on the Food Network program “Chopped: Impossible” in 2015. Currently working as a sous chef in New York City, Chapman is undefeated in three separate appearances on the program.
Morris, a Long Branch native, is a former senior investigator for the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and currently serves as executive assistant to the Monmouth County sheriff.
She has served as a member of multiple community groups and advocacy organizations, including the National Association of Negro and Professional Women’s Club and the Monmouth County Cotillion Committee. A U.S. Army veteran, Morris has also helped coordinate law enforcement career fairs at Brookdale and received a Community Service Award from the NAACP of Greater Long Branch.
Six graduates will also receive the college’s 2015-16 Outstanding Student Award.
Tickets are required to attend the ceremony. Those without tickets can watch a live simulcast in Brookdale’s Warner Student Life Center, with parking in lots 6 and 7. For more information visit www.brookdalecc.edu or call the Office of Student Life and Activities at 732-224-2788.