Every now and then I reflect on my early college days, the "old" ECC (1969-71) and The Business Club! My ECC days changed the course of my life. I am retired from 36 years as a Newark teacher and secondary vice principal. My husband, Paul, is also retired. We are traveling and enjoying God's blessings.
I see that you are still hanging in there with ECC, at least according to the website. Frank is not listed, how is he doing?
I'm working on my doctorate (for the second time). Now, that I'm retired, I hope to finish it. I rarely see (or remember) anyone from my ECC class ('71). I hope this note finds you and your family well.
Renee (Ray) Johnson
Hello Dr. Berry,
It's been a long time! I was thinking of you and how you greatly influenced the direction of my life in recommending Smith College as a transfer option. Again, thank you! I want to let you know how things have been progressing since I now teach at a community college and experience both the joys and disappointments that I know must be all too familiar to you.
I graduated from Smith in 2003 with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. Next, I went on to complete in 2006 a MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. While a student at Naropa, I published a short nonfiction novel and several poems. After completing my thesis, I landed a position teaching English at Union County College where I have been ever since. In May of this year, I completed my coursework for Drew University's D. Litt program where I focused on the Greek and Roman classics and Medieval Literature. Now, my thoughts are on my dissertation which examines the Greek/Roman literary influence on contemporary Black fiction with a primary focus on Jackie Kay's Trumpet.
I don't believe any of this would have been possible without your encouragement as both a professor and advisor. I hope I've made you proud!
Assistant Professor of English
Union County College
Hi Prof. Berry:
I am a Phi Theta Kappa member and recently graduated ECC SUM I 2009 earning my AA in Liberal Arts. I applied to Rutgers as a History major and was accepted for Fall 2009. Due to my 4.0 GPA and Phi Theta Kappa membership, I was awarded the Newark Provost Scholarship for $6,000 per year for two years as long as I maintain 12 credits a semester with a 3.0 GPA.
I have the following courses:
Far Eastern History with Odoric Wou (retiring soon)
History of Newark with Thomas McCabe
The Greek & Roman City: Roman Monuments and Spectacle with Kathleen Shea (final class in this subject)
Colonial America with Leslie Doig
I will try my best to earn my scholarship while representing ECC with high academic standards. Thank you.
Stephanie Luczka, 09.
My dear professors, just wanted to let you know that I passed my NCLEX and now I am a Registered Nurse.
I am also very proud to inform you that I was hired by Newark Beth Israel to work at the NICU (my dream job). I will start on March 09. They interviewed me the same day of the pinning and sent me their response the day after. As you know, SBHCS just laid off 50 nurses, so I asked the Human Resources VP why they were hiring me? They told me they want to have the "crème de la crème" so I guess that ECC students are now that "crème".
I am very proud of being an ECC graduate, proud that I had you all as my professors. You all impacted my life in such a wonderful way... God Bless you!!!
I will see you soon.
Sandra Cassidy, RN '09.
I attended Essex County College Police Academy Alternate Route Program Class 08-1. The program offers everything the traditional approach does, with the exception of having a job during the Academy.
Fortunately, the Academy staff works tirelessly in training individuals and assisting each recruit in finding a job. With the taxes that people are paying in New Jersey, towns are relying more heavily on the Alternate Route Program for police candidates.
I was fortunate to find a job prior to the conclusion of the Academy and attribute it to the vigorous training provided by the Academy staff. I look back and enjoy the experience I had at Essex County College Police Academy.
Joseph Zemaites '08
Dear Ms. Akiwowo,
This is a letter informing you of my progress since I graduated from Essex County College in May 1998 with a degree in Biology/Pre-Medicine.
I continued my education at Temple University School of Pharmacy. At Temple, I received a doctorate degree in pharmacy in May 2002.
I am a registered pharmacist in the state of New Jersey. I am currently self-employed at Campus Pharmacy which is located in Newark, New Jersey and work in a retail pharmacy setting. I have been practicing pharmacy for the past five years and love what I do.Calvin P. Osei ‘98
Happy Holidays! I hope all is well. I have been doing well. In May 2007, I graduated with my Master’s in Information Systems and Telecommunications from Johns Hopkins with a GPA of 3.86. In July of the same year, I graduated with MBA from the New York Institute of Technology with GPA of 3.84. Needlessly to say, I have been keeping myself very busy. I am currently working as an IT Specialist for the Social Security Administration in Maryland. I work in the Accounting and Payment branch for retirees and survivors. This requires working with other federal agencies such as the Federal Reserve and Treasury to ensure payments are timely and accurate. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering. I volunteer as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Maryland Business Roundtable, and Delta Sigma Pi. I feel blessed just being able to give back to better the community.
What’s next for me? Umm, I am not quite sure yet. Unfortunately, last December my mom died of breast cancer. It has changed my perspective on life and family. Being the oldest, my siblings look to me for strength and support. I am considering relocating back to my NJ roots and continuing to make a name for myself in the federal world.
I will always be grateful for opportunities bestowed upon me while I attended ECC. Being the recipient of the Open Door and Dingler Scholarship allowed me to broaden my future and excel to be the very best. I am deeply appreciative.
ECC Alumni Class of 2002
I would like to thank you for the Presidential Scholarship, which I received in September 2003. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my goals without your financial support. I am very grateful to you.
I have graduated from Essex County College (Legal Studies major) and have been accepted at Seton Hall University as Diplomacy of International Relations major with minors in French and Women’s Studies.
Essex County College has given me a good start. At Essex County College, I was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I am glad I was able to achieve my goals at the college and I am going further to achieve more than that.
Thank you very much for your support. God bless you and your family.
Yvonne Nana Esi Boham ‘03
Dear Dr. Zachary Yamba,
This is a letter informing you of my progress at Johns Hopkins University since I am graduating in May.
The Open Door and Dingler Foundation scholarship I received from Essex County College has helped to shape the young leader that I am today. Without the scholarship, I would not have completed my associate’s degree and continued on to obtain my bachelor’s degree at John Hopkins University.
While attending Essex County College, my mother became ill and we had a major financial burden. My mother’s health costs including her medication were more than her yearly income. Essex County College helped me at a difficult time and encouraged me to continue my educational goal. Essex County College has helped shaped me personally and professionally. I am currently a senior at John Hopkins studying information Systems and specializing in health care with a GPA of 3.5.
After graduation, I plan to pursue my master’s degree in Information Systems and Business Administration at John Hopkins University. My future goals include working for the US government and being a part of the initiative to decrease health costs by implementing information technology solutions. In addition, I was recently selected to participate in the 2004 Monster.com Diversity Leadership Program and I am featured as an alumni on their website. I am also the Vice President of Pledge and Education of Delta Sigma Pi, where we participate in many charitable events and enrichment programs.
I was recently promoted as a Project Administrator at my job, where I utilize my technical and project management skills learned in my undergraduate study. Essex County College gave me a chance to pursue my future. I will be forever grateful to ECC for not only opening the doors of opportunity, but for allowing me through these scholarships to help me realize my dreams. Again, I thank you and all your fine professors, administrators, and staff who have helped me along the way.
Bosede Olaogun ‘02
I last wrote to you after I graduated from Kean University in 2002 with a B.A. in Sociology. I am pleased to inform you that on May 16, 2005, I graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson with a master’s in Public Administration. I write to you once again to thank ECC for its commitment to its students. When I first wrote to you, I talked about how ECC had so thoroughly prepared me to continue my education at Kean. I shared with you the fact that when I graduated from ECC I was not sure that I could compete at the next level and how I found that my fears were unfounded since I could not only compete but also lead the discussion. With ECC’s training, I received numerous awards while at Kean and graduated with a G.P.A. of 3.55. Well Dr. Yamba, I have just graduated from Farleigh Dickinson with a G.P.A. of 3.62. I cannot explain the gratitude that I felt as I walked across the stage at the Meadowlands Arena to receive my M.P.A. I was grateful to ECC for instilling in me the skills to be a good student. I have received many academic achievement awards as well as community service awards since I began my education at ECC in 1995, and it is all because of the pride in academics that was instilled in me by ECC.
Sir, I represented ECC, the very best way I know how. There is a certain stigma that many students from the suburbs have about ECC because of the fact that it is located in the heart of Newark, but I hope that I was a small factor in changing that perception. Each time that I received an award for academic achievement, I never failed to mention that I was trained by ECC’s finest. I am ever so proud to have represented our institution.
I began my education in the Veterans Upward Bound Program with Mr. Ron Ross. Mr. Ross always had a supportive word for me, as did Mrs. Betty Foster and Mrs. Chapman and Ms. Wilkerson and Ms. Gibson. I love and respect them all. Those people along with the many professors that I had, motivated me to achieve heights that I never thought possible. ECC taught me more about community responsibility than I knew when I entered. As an African American male, I now take my education and humbly return to my Newark community to hopefully inspire others. Dr. Yamba, once again, I say thank you.
Joseph McCallum '99
“ I graduated from Essex County College in 1998. I worked for several years before deciding to attend college. Going to ECC was one of the best decisions I made. I graduated with an A.S. degree in Accounting and am currently employed by General Chemical Corporation of Parsippany in the capacity of Payroll Administrator. I am responsible for processing our salaried payroll at our corporate office in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Completing my associate degree enabled me to move from a much lower paying job to a higher paying one with more potential for opportunity and growth. I am currently attending Caldwell College and am pursuing a degree in Business Management.
I enjoyed the time I spent at ECC. I took classes at both the Campus at West Caldwell and at the Main Campus in Newark. The campus at Newark was spacious and safe due to adequate security and ample and safe parking. The class sizes were small enough that it was always possible to interact with the professors on a one-to-one basis if needed. When I had to take challenging courses such as Physics and Calculus I had the opportunity to use the tutoring services available in the Mathematics and Science area. I remember Dr. Robert Schloming who taught Calculus and Professor August Ruggiero, who taught Physics. They were always available to help students and offer encouragement. The Business Department has some excellent teachers, such as Dr. Downs (Economics), Professor Linwood Gilbert (Accounting), and Professor Don Linner (Business). All of these gentlemen did an evaluation of my transcripts and were able to offer advice on transferring to another institution upon graduation.
The facilities at the college are excellent. There were many times where I made use of search material in the library and use of the computer labs. I was always able to get the assistance I needed.
Attending ECC helped greatly in my academic and professional development. I am glad I attended.”
Bob Hodgetts ‘98
“I graduated from ECC in May 1996. I went on to Rutgers University and graduated with a B.S.W. and a 3.2 G.P.A. I am working with Essex Properties, Inc. (a component of Cerebral Palsy). I am very grateful for all the values, skills, and training I received from Essex County College."
Ernestjean Branch ’96
“ I am a proud graduate of Essex County College. I am also a graduate of Drew University and Lighthouse Christian College where I respectively received my B.A., M.A., and PhD.
Presently I am an East Coast (BaptaCostal) evangelist, an adjunct professor at 3 colleges (Bloomfield, Union, and Essex/not a coincidence), a video producer, and a counselor.
ECC was one of the greatest opportunities in my life and I pray daily that I will be able to give back to this facility half of the lessons I learned.”
Dr. Tyron “Mercury” Thomas ‘89
“I graduated from Essex County College in 1984. I received the A.S. degree in Accounting. I continued my studies at Rutgers University, I was very pleased to see pictures of Essex on the website. Memories just filled my head with nostalgia about Essex. Now I live in Cyprus and work as an accountant in a consulting corporation.
First of all, I would like to thank all of my instructors and colleagues who helped me accomplish my academic goals. ECC is an institution which provides all the basic facilities for a student to reach a certain level of education. I recall the low rates applied for students who used to live within the county as Internationals. The small number of students per class is very helpful for the students to come closer to the instructors and exchange views.
The good relations that ECC has with other colleges and universities in New Jersey and other states around the U.S., is again an advantage for those (like myself) to transfer to a four-year institution. The members of the Faculty and the staff were all so friendly, and that couldn’t be forgotten. Professor Richard Downs, Alfred Olivi, Donald Linner and many others whose names are not on the list (website), are those who guided other friends and myself (Cypriots too) to proceed forward with success. I found that ECC was the starting and basic point for my career, not only for me, but also for many friends, especially here in Cyprus. Many Cypriots who graduated or took many courses at ECC are now employed in many industries and corporations here in my country.
A very good friend of mine, Costas Mavrides, who graduated from ECC is an outstanding Professor at the University of Cyprus and an economic advisor in many companies. As I mentioned above, ECC is the college that gives the opportunity for persons who have the will and patience to strive for excellence in all things. I always talk to friends and co-workers about ECC and explain to them why I chose that college as my starting point.
There is a saying, which we do use a lot here in Cyprus, “ A good beginning is half the battle.” Now I work as a Chief Accountant in an offshore consulting company and this is mostly due to the experience and knowledge I gained during my studentship at ECC between 1982-1984.
Another factor I would consider as a plus for ECC is that some instructors in the Accounting/Economics fields are indeed very good and experienced. Last and not the least, ECC loves and cares about its students.”
Pantelis Nicolaides ’84
It is with great pleasure that I share with you my story. I graduated from Essex County College in 1976 and got an A.A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education. I then went on to attend Montclair State University where I received my B.A. in Spanish Education.
I have been working as a Pre-school teacher, Bilingual teacher, and World Languages teacher for almost twenty years. I am very proud to say that I got my first degree from Essex County College.
I have not forgotten the good times I spent at ECC and I will always recommend it to my friends and relatives. I am very happy with the education that I received at ECC.”
Zaida J. Roman ’76
Dear Dr. Yamba:
An article in today’s Star Ledger about one of ECC’s students has inspired me to write. The student’s name is Willesa J. Robinson, and indeed her story of personal triumph is beautiful.
I was also once a student at Essex County College. In fact I entered in September 1968 and was among ECC’s first graduates in May 1970. Two years later I graduated with a B.A. in English from Montclair State.
I came to ECC along with two of my siblings. There were six others back home in Montclair. We had attended religious affiliated schools all our lives, and our academic standing reflected our distaste for the autocratic methods meted out in those settings. No college within commuting distance would have us, and my parents did not have the means to send us to any that would.
Anyway, my father wasn’t so sure that girls needed an education. Despite limited means, my father reminded me that I was from good stock and that if I kept myself “respectable”, I’d probably find a good husband. He did, however, point out that a degree would heighten my chances with prospects. In early 1968, we found that, come September, a two year “junior college” would open, and I grabbed the chance.
What an eye-opener and what an opportunity, did ECC provide me! To this day, I remember Dr. Spellman’s Art History classes. So much so that when my daughter came home from her first semester with the Jansen book, I found myself paraphrasing snatches of a long-ago lecture: elements of art….line….form… color, given by a very young, and dare I say, handsome professor. Mr. Spellman, more than anything wanted his students to honor human creativity and to honor themselves. Or why would his words stick?
Miss Beth Berger….nothing was held back when she found a good story….incredible passion…and she taught me that I could write. Five years later she wrote me a recommendation for admittance into the masters program at the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse. I was accepted into that program, but declined, as I had gotten very comfortable in New York City.
Today, I am the owner of two small businesses. What I learned at ECC is something I learn anew every day, and by the account of Ms. Robinson it’s still being taught. Life indeed is beautiful, and every life holds promise.
By the way, I had a pretty good French teacher too, but he went on to better things. God bless you Dr. Yamba, and your lovely wife too. I follow your wonderful work through the newspapers.
Marilyn M. May (nee Maxwell) ’70