PHOTO: Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Freeholders John Curley and Serena DiMasa. Photo by Michael Colarusso
LINCROFT – Brookdale Community College celebrated its 50th birthday Tuesday with a birthday cake at the College of Visual Arts among well-wishers, County officials, and members of the AAUW American Association of University whose members were among the strongest advocates for a community college in Monmouth County half a century ago.
Dr. David Stout, president of Brookdale, led the brief program that included Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and freeholders John Curley and Serena DiMasa as well as Middletown Mayor Gerald Scharfenberger presenting resolutions acknowledging July 18, 2017 at Brookdale Community College throughout Monmouth County and specifically in Middletown. Framed copies of the original Monmouth County resolution establishing the community college were also presented. The resolutions showed the Freeholder Director in 1967 was Joseph Irwin, and freeholders were Marcus Daly, Harry B. Larrison, Eugene Bedell and Benjamin Danskin.
Burry congratulated college officials for their work in making Brookdale “an incredible institute of learning,” and characterized the board of freeholders as enablers for the board’s unstopping support of the educational system from the start and throughout the present day. She assured Stout of continued support by the board and invited him “to come see us whenever you need anything…you always do!”
Scharfenberger, who is also a professor at Monmouth University, noted the impossible dream of 1967 is now 50 years of making dreams possible as Brookdale promotes in its observations of the anniversary. He noted that students who complete their first two years of study at Brookdale and go on to Monmouth University for their advanced degree “are always among the top students,” because of the education they receive at Brookdale.
Stout pointed out the school had 650 students in its first year with all facilities on the Lincroft campus; today, he said, there are more than 13,000 students on six campus locations and on line.
Celebrations and special programs for the 50th anniversary have been ongoing at Brookdale since the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, ranging from the opening of the new Montessori Children’s Learning Center on the Lincroft campus and the One Stop Center for admissions, registration and other student services, to a wide range of unique transfer and leadership opportunities. Special 50th-themed programs have been held throughout the school year, and Dr. Ervan Harlacher, the college’s founding president, spoke to hundreds of employees via a video address tracing the beginning and growth of the learning center over half a century.
The Impossible Dream was Harlacher’s theme song, he said on the video, and the college has been making dreams possible for Monmouth County residents ever since, the theme reiterated by Scharfenberger at Tuesday’s event.