Hudson County Community College Will Celebrate a Record 1,532 Graduates at the47th Annual Commencement Ceremony

The Commencement festivities will be led by Dr. Lisa Dougherty, Master of Ceremonies and Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment. The Order of Exercises includes Opening Remarks by Student Alumni Representative Sally Elwir; Greetings and Introductions by Dr. Reber, HCCC Board of Trustees Chair William J. Netchert, Esq., and Hudson County Executive Craig Guy; and Presentation of Graduates by Dr. Darryl Jones, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“These graduates have overcome challenges and navigated uncertain times. Through it all, they have persevered with strength and determination, emerging stronger and more prepared to take on the world that awaits them,” Trustee Netchert said. “As they move forward toward bright futures, they will always have a home here at HCCC.”

During the ceremonies, HCCC Class of 2024 Valedictorian Najwa Essaki will address her peers. The immigrant, first-generation college graduate enrolled at HCCC in 2022 to overcome a language barrier. Excelling in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, she went on to maintain a 4.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) while pursuing her Associate’s degree in Accounting and participating in a federal work-study program. Najwa worked side-by-side with her fellow students in community outreach and enrichment events such as preparing meals and caring for the homeless, blood drives, and more. She is a Chapter Officer of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and served as Vice President of Scholarship in its Beta Alpha Phi chapter; Publicity Chair of the National Society of Leadership and Success; President of the Student Programming Board; Record Keeping Director of Student Government Association; and Vice President of the Arab Student Association.

HCCC Class of 2024 graduates earned Associates degrees and certificates from the HCCC Schools of Nursing and Health Professions; Business, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

About Hudson County Community College

Hudson County Community College serves more than 20,000 credit and non-credit students annually. The College offers more than 90 degree and certificate programs, including award-winning English as a Second Language; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management; Nursing and Health Professions; and Humanities and Social Sciences. The HCCC Culinary/Hospitality Management program was ranked number six in the U.S. by Best Choice Schools. The College’s School of Continuing Education and Workforce Development offers cutting-edge, industry-recognized, stackable credentials in alignment with high-priority workforce needs.

HCCC has partnerships with major four-year colleges and universities in the greater New Jersey-New York area and beyond, accommodating seamless transfer of credits for further undergraduate and graduate education.

The College’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been recognized with the 2021 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Northeast Region Equity Award; the “INSIGHT Into Diversity” 2021, 2022 and 2023 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, this year honoring HCCC as one of six community colleges nationally to be named “Top Colleges for Diversity;” the “INSIGHT Into Diversity” 2022 and 2023 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award, and 2024 Inspiring Programs in Business Award. The College received the 2023 Outstanding Member Institution Award from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). HCCC was a finalist in seven categories of this year’s American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) national “Awards of Excellence” and earned CEO of the Year, Faculty of the Year, and Student Success Awards.  

For the third consecutive year, HCCC was selected as one of 18 community colleges in the United States to be named among the “2024 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges” by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) in collaboration with “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.” HCCC was one of 22 community colleges in the nation, and the only college in New Jersey, to be recognized by ModernThink LLC and the “Chronicle of Higher Education” as a 2022 and 2023 “Great College to Work For®.” HCCC is one of two colleges in the United States to be named a Top Ten Finalist in all three program categories for the nationally recognized 2023 Bellwether Awards, and received the 2023 Bellwether Award for the College’s cutting-edge “Hudson Scholars” program, which also won the 2024 Bellwether Legacy Award. 

The College’s exemplary work in advancing student success has been recognized with 2023 “Leader College of Distinction” designation by Achieving the Dream, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing community colleges as catalysts for equity and mobility in their communities. HCCC was also presented the Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention in 2023 and 2024 for demonstrating leadership in digital prevention programming focused on student safety, well-being, and inclusion.