Cumberland Celebrates Third Largest Graduating Class in College’s History

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Keynote speaker Robert Carr delivers his address to the Class of 2018 during Cumberland County College’s 51st Commencement ceremony. Keynote speaker Robert Carr delivers his address to the Class of 2018 during Cumberland County College’s 51st Commencement ceremony.
VINELAND, N.J. -

Not even the wet weather could dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds who gathered, on May 17, to witness members of the third largest graduating class in Cumberland County College’s 51-year history earn their degrees.

Proud family members and friends cheered for the Cumberland County College Class of 2018, which numbered 710.

An additional 150 graduates received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cumberland’s on-campus University Partners at a separate ceremony earlier in the day.

At the beginning of the evening’s program, Cumberland’s president, Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernandez recognized three longtime English professors—John Gibbs, Sharon Kewish and Kevin McGarvey—as they each prepare to retire following their combined 128 years of service to the college.

McGarvey, elected by graduating students as the 2018 Professor of the Year, had the added privilege of leading the commencement procession, alongside Frank Piccioni III, who received this year’s Advisor of the Year honors.

“This evening is all about you,” Cumberland president Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernandez told the graduates. “You have worked so hard to get here. Your parents, children and loved ones have looked forward to this day and are looking forward to more graduations in your future. Go ahead, savor this moment, but know that this is one of many to come. Set the bar high for yourselves.”

Robert O. Carr, an entrepreneur, author and philanthropist delivered the keynote commencement address. Carr is the founder and chairman of Give Something Back (Give Back), a non-profit charity that provides college scholarships, academic mentoring, and social guidance to students who have faced economic hardship and other adversities.

“As I look across this gathering, I see the rich diversity that makes us strong,” Carr said. “Some of you might have doubted this day would ever come. On any important journey, there are always daunting roadblocks. To reach this success, you have demonstrated strength of character. And that, as much as anything else, will guide you through life.”

This year’s Cumberland County College graduates spanned generations — from ages 19 to 81. Thirty-three of the graduating students are over the age of 50.

Newport resident Josh Loew, who earned an associate degree in Environmental Science, was elected by his classmates as the student commencement speaker.

“We are graduating from our programs here, and moving on. Some of us will be headed to work, others to higher degrees, but all of us are heading forward,” Loew said. “Find your true end goal, push through all the pain, and don’t forget to help others along the way.”

The top 10 majors with the largest number of graduates in 2018 are: Biomedical Science, Justice Studies, Nursing, Social Service, Liberal Arts, Elementary/Secondary Education, Business Management, Business Studies, Social Science, and Alcohol and Drug Counseling.

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