Bergen Trustee Chair Named Among Nation’s Best

PARAMUS, N.J. – The American Association of Community Colleges has selected Bergen Community College Board of Trustees Chair Dorothy Blakeslee as a finalist for the “Trustee of the Year” award as part of the organization's annual Awards of Excellence program.

The honor recognizes Blakeslee as one of the top three trustees in the nation, celebrating those who make “significant contributions to their college … including demonstrating exceptional leadership and initiative, contributing to strengthening college governance and advocating for their college’s data and results-driven student success initiatives.” As a finalist, Blakeslee attended a gala event at the AACC’s national convention in this month in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I have had the incredible fortune of working with my colleague and friend Dorothy Blakeslee for the past three years as president,” Bergen President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., said. “As chair, she has championed efforts that contribute to the institution’s continuous improvement and help set aggressive, yet attainable, goals for myself and the College as a whole.”

The first Asian-American chair in Bergen history, Blakeslee has led the institution through an unprecedented period of growth, innovation and prosperity. Selected as chair to coincide with the hiring of President Friedman, the pair have forged a bond rooted in the support of the institution’s students, faculty and staff. Among many key initiatives, they have worked together to deepen ties with Bergen County government leaders, launch Bergen’s first all-online degree programs through the Center for Online Learning and create holistic programs that eased pressures on students such as a tuition-debt relief initiative.

“I am very proud to have received this recognition,” Blakeslee said. “Bergen represents an incredibly important part of my life. I hope that I can continue to bring transformational learning opportunities to Bergen County, our students, faculty, staff and community members for many years.”

Blakeslee first joined the College’s governing body in 2003. Before becoming chair in 2020, she served as treasurer for nearly 16 years. A managing director at Government Strategy Group, Blakeslee remains an active member of many organizations including the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency, the Quest Autism Program and the State of New Jersey Family Advisory Council. She currently serves as the chair of the Family Support Planning Council, a statewide network of families living with developmental disabilities. Blakeslee previously served on the boards of the Hackensack University Medical Foundation, the New Jersey Task Force on the Needs of Autistic Adults and the Organization of Chinese Americans. She received her B.S. from the University of Connecticut and holds a master black belt in Tae Kwan Do.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, 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: Dorothy Blakeslee

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