PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College will celebrate its class of 2023 during the institution’s 54th annual commencement exercises on Tuesday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
Attendees will include students who graduated in August and December 2022 and now have their chance to participate in the ceremony and the spring semester’s many candidates for graduation. In all, more than 7,000 graduates, families, friends, faculty, staff and special guests will attend the event.
Among the special guests:
· Student Mana Mehdizadeh will serve as the valedictorian - the top student in the class of 2023. Mehdizadeh, of Nutley, has earned a 4.0 GPA while becoming a Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and member of the New Jersey All-State Academic Team. As a general studies major aspiring to study government and politics at a four-year institution and attend law school, Mehdizadeh serves as vice president of service for Phi Theta Kappa, a tutor/academic coach at the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center and an intern for New Jersey State Representative Shama Haider (D-37). She also performs advocacy work on behalf of first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students, providing individualized mentorship, networking and employment opportunities.
· Panasonic Corporation of North America Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Megan Myungwon Lee will provide remarks as this year’s keynote speaker. In her role, Lee leads the company’s growth strategy and remains responsible for guiding its ongoing business evolution. She joined Panasonic in 1987 as a human resources professional. Lee also serves as chair of the Panasonic Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged students with the skills and credentials they need to lead successful lives.
· Retiring professor Dallas Gray will lead the procession of invited guests as grand marshal, while Vice President of Academic Affairs Brock Fisher, Ph.D., serves as the emcee. President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., and Board of Trustees Chair Dorothy Blakeslee will speak at the event as well.
· Student Shannon Medina, of New Milford, will open the ceremony by performing the national anthem.
· In addition to many government officials expected to attend and participate in the ceremony as platform guests, Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III and Bergen County Commissioner Chair Thomas Sullivan will provide remarks on behalf of county government.
· Student Government Association President Amanda Kulesza, of River Edge, will close the ceremony by leading her peers in the traditional turning of tassels, signifying their status as college graduates.
The class of 2023 includes members of the College’s Turning Point Program for adults with intellectual disabilities, members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and even local high school students who have earned degrees through Bergen’s dual enrollment program.
The College will livestream the event beginning with a preshow at 9:45 a.m. on Bergen.edu and all of its official social media channels.
Since its inception, Bergen has grown into the state’s largest community college with approximately 12,000 students taking classes this semester. The College ranks No. 1 in New Jersey for associate degree graduates.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
photo caption: Members of the Bergen Community College class of 2022 at last year’s ceremony.