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ACCC Awards Nearly 800 Degrees; Vassallo, Fox Receive Teaching Awards

May 21, 2009

Atlantic Cape Community College awarded 793 associate in arts, associate in applied science and associate in science degrees at the school's 42nd commencement, Thursday morning, May 21. J. Noah Brown, president and CEO, Association of Community College Trustees, delivered the keynote address. He told the graduates to be a lifelong advocate of community colleges. "Help others understand community colleges put wings on dreams," he said.

Dr. Peter L. Mora, ACCC president, presented honorary associate in science degrees to Robert J. Boyer, past chairman of the ACCC Board of Trustees; The Honorable Joseph Silipena, former chairman of the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders; J. Noah Brown, this year's commencement speaker; and H. Robert Switzer, a long-standing municipal court judge who served as is this year's Beacons by the Sea Visiting Professor.

The Lindback Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Donna Vassallo of Egg Harbor Township, assistant professor of hospitality management and business. The Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Levi Fox of Somers Point, who teaches history. He also serves as a student advisor in the college's Career and Academic Planning Center.

High honors student Samantha Lee Brown of Port Republic, 23, who achieved a perfect 4.0 average, delivered the class farewell. Brown received an associate in arts degree in liberal arts, literature option. She joined ACCC as a transfer student in 2007 and served on the student newspaper editorial board and as editor of Rewrites. She plans to continue her education at Rowan University, where she will study communication and creative writing.

"We are a diversified group of people...and I believe that is what has made our learning experiences here so rich," Brown said. 

Student Government Association President Benjamin Dailey of Absecon, 26, an Iraq war veteran who earned an A.S. in general studies with high honors, told the graduates: "Don't even worry about making the right decision. Rather, make your decision right...The only way to be happy and feel truly successful is by doing the things that make you proud."

Sheyla M. Ayala-Mantilla of Marmora, 23, was elected by the student body to serve as alumni representative to the college's board of trustees, it was announced. She earned an associate in science degree in business administration, economics option, with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Dworsky, vice chairperson of ACCC's Board of Trustees, conferred and presented degrees to the graduates.

View the Class of 2009 List of Graduates