Alumni Newsletter

Keeping our Alumni informed of Atlantic Cape activities

ACCC Art Gallery Hosts Alumni Exhibit

After putting out a call for alumni artists, the ACCC Art Gallery will feature the artwork of more than 20 ACCC graduates at an exhibit running through May 31. The exhibit is part of a celebration of the college’s 40th anniversary.

Art Gallery

The exhibit includes pieces from studio arts majors and minors from the 1970s through the present. Their works represent diverse media, including watercolor and oil paintings, works of collage and sculpture in paper maché, glass, ceramics and pine needles.

The art gallery is on the Mays Landing Campus, 5100 Black Horse Pike, adjacent to the theater in C-building (C-125). Visitors use parking lot 3.

Hours of exhibition are available by calling (609) 343-5040. For more information about ACCC’s Art Gallery, or to book a group visit, call art gallery coordinator, Buddy Jacobs 625-1111, ext. 5346, or For more information, visit

State Higher Education Official to Speak at Graduation

Jane Oates, executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and senior policy advisor to Gov. Jon S. Corzine, will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2007 at ACCC’s 40th annual commencement, 4 p.m., Thursday, May 24.

Prior to joining Gov. Corzine in March 2006, Oates was the senior policy advisor on higher education, national service, adult literacy, education research and workforce issues to U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

While in the Senate, Oates was the chief of staff to the Democratic members of the HELP Committee on two reauthorizations of the Higher Education Act, the reauthorization of the Office of Educational Research, the creation and implementation of the Workforce Investment Act, and The Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act.

The commencement ceremony will be held on the archery field near Jonathan Pitney Hall. In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved indoors to Jonathan Pitney Gymnasium. For more information on commencement, visit

Restaurant Gala Raises Record-Breaking $245,000 for Scholarships

With the James Bond-inspired theme “Live and Let’s Dine,” patrons at the 24th Annual The Press of Atlantic City Restaurant Gala enjoyed a culinary adventure with tastes from around the world. The event raised a record-breaking $240,000 for student scholarships at the Academy of Culinary Arts and ACCC.

A woman enjoys the chocolate fountain in the dessert room

A woman enjoys the chocolate fountain in the dessert room.

More than 1,000 people attended the sold-out event held March 7 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The event included the specialties of 39 of the finest restaurants in Atlantic and Cape May counties and showcased the talents of the culinary students at the Academy of Culinary Arts, who prepared thousands of sumptuous hot and cold hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail reception. ACA students and chef educators received a standing ovation from the attendees during the dinner reception. A dessert extravaganza capped off the evening.

The Restaurant Gala Steering Committee awarded honorary gold medals from the Academy of Culinary Arts to community philanthropists The Honorable John Schultz and Gary Hill of the Schultz-Hill Foundation for their support of education and the community.

ACA students prepare the raw seafood boat

ACA students prepare the raw seafood boat.

A 50/50 raffle brought in more than $20,000 for college scholarships. Jeffrey H. Gott, Jay Ford and Jodie DiEduardo, employees at Cape Savings Bank in Wildwood, shared the $12,090 grand prize. Second prize winner Christie Magee of Galloway received $4,030. Three third prizes, each totaling $1,343, went to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Deborah Bass of Villas, and a group of ACCC employees including Sue McNamara of Minotola, Paula J. Hamilton of Sicklerville, Barbara Clark of Egg Harbor Township, Vickie Brown of Margate, Gina Skinner of Atlantic City, Joanne Gleason of Hammonton, Linda McLeod of Atlantic City, Carmen Cabrera of Hammonton, Rosemarie Conaghy of Collings Lakes, and Tammy DeFranco of Galloway. Winning amounts were based on 403 tickets sold.

Held annually, the Gala has served as the premier black-tie fundraising event in South Jersey for more than 20 years, providing the venue for area restaurants to showcase their house specialties while helping to raise scholarship dollars for ACA students. It has raised more than $1.6 million in its history.

Institute for Service Excellence Opens at Hamilton Mall; Offers One-Stop Retail Training

The Institute for Service Excellence held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony May 4 for the center, which will provide retail training and job placement services at its location in the Hamilton Mall.

The Institute trains workers for the high-growth hospitality and emerging retail industries. Staff work closely with employers to match graduates to openings. The ISE opened in a limited capacity in March but will expand its hours and class offerings to meet the needs of the workforce with evening and weekend classes in English as a Second Language and Retail Sales and Service Training.

Grand opening of the Institute for Service Excellence

At center, Dr. Peter L. Mora, president of ACCC, cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Institute for Service Excellence with local officials and founding partners.

“This joint venture is a valuable asset for our community. Unemployed and underemployed residents in our region will now have a place to build customer service skills and credentials to succeed in the service sector,” said Dr. Peter L. Mora, president of ACCC, managing partner of the Institute. “Meanwhile, employers in the retail and hospitality industries will have a new pool of trained and motivated workers to rely on.”

The Institute includes two classrooms, a computer lab, conference room, resource room and offices for four full-time staff and the part-time instructors. It offers free ESL and retail skills training to the unemployed and underemployed through a grant from the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Partners who contributed to the development and cost of the center are: ACCC, Atlantic Cape May Workforce Investment Board, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Kravco Simon Development Corporation of the Hamilton Mall who donated a five-year lease with all accompanying costs, the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the National Retail Federation. Also contributing to the Institute were Scorpio Construction Inc., Metcalfe Architecture & Design and numerous retail and hospitality employers.

Employment partners who have committed to hiring Institute graduates who meet their qualifications are Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Ecolab, KMart, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Macy’s, Marshall’s Retail Group, The Home Depot, Trump Entertainment and Wyndham Resorts.

For more information, call the Institute for Service Excellence at (609) 343-5600 or visit

Former Hospitality Major at Home in Marketing Role

On the surface, hospitality management may not seem to have a lot in common with marketing a law firm, but for Donna Vecere there is a clear path joining the fields.

Vecere spent years working for a family business and earned her associate degree in hospitality management/travel and tourism from what was then Atlantic Community College in 1994.

After graduating with a 4.0 grade point average, Vecere landed a job as director of marketing for the Wildwood Convention Center. Her background and degree in hospitality and tourism made her the perfect choice for the position.

Donna Vecere

Donna Vecere ’94

“The course work I did at ACC prepared me in ways probably not immediately apparent to people casually looking,” Vecere said. “The truth is every business, law firms included, has quite a lot of effort put forth to meetings, seminars and conventions.”

Connections from that job led to a move to central New Jersey and a new role as director of marketing for an architectural and construction firm. Along the way, Vecere earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Thomas Edison University.

A few years later, Vecere decided to return to her roots in Cape May County. Opportunity came with the opening of the director of marketing position at Cooper Levenson, Attorneys at Law, in Atlantic City in December.

Her first task involved much of the planning for the East Coast Gaming Conference, of which Cooper Levenson is presenting sponsor. “Things like set ups and drapes … might be foreign to people not exposed to that end of it are things I had in my background from ACC.”

In addition to working on large projects like the conference, Vecere is responsible for creating and implementing integrated marketing and public relations plans for each of the individual practice areas at Cooper Levenson. Commonly, that calls for planning seminars that allow the firm’s attorneys to forge relationships with professionals in other industries. Vecere is also adding RSS feeds and pod casts of these seminars to the firm’s Web site,

Even though she’s only been back in the area for a few months, Vecere has already reconnected with ACCC instructors and is finding ways to give real world experience to current hospitality majors.

Vecere called on Josette Katz, professor of business, and Donna Vassallo, assistant professor of hospitality management, for help staffing registration tables at the East Coast Gaming Conference.

“I thought it would be a great spot for students to get a first-hand look at the gaming industry and what is coming up for the future of Atlantic City. It was great to have the students’ assistance,” she said.

Alumni Updates

Adam Grohman ’97 was featured in the Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot newspaper on Feb. 15. An author, researcher and scuba diver, Grohman has published a concise and enjoyable historical research adventure into the most infamous ship to run aground on the north shore of Long Island during the Prohibition Era, the William T. Bell. His book, LI Rum Runner Aground, was published to coincide with the 18th anniversary of the schooner’s grounding.

Alumni updates

Jerome Townsend ’01 presented a talk on fundraising for the voluntary sector during the “Making Democracy Work” conference in Budapest, Hungary, Feb. 19. Townsend graduated from Rutgers-Camden with a degree in public policy and administration after graduating from ACCC. He visited Budapest last spring as part of a Rutgers-Camden international studies course on the role of nonprofit organizations.

We heard from ACCC graduate Steve Dunn who is assistant professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is working in a basic science laboratory investigating diabetic complications of kidney disease. “I was the second SGA president at ACC in 1967-68,” he writes. I began my ACC experience in the old ACHS building at night and moved to the current site. There was a lot of mud back then. ACCC has made great strides since my days in professors Messick and Hurff’s classes. ACC was a great worthwhile experience.”

Prof. Gerri Black Named Faculty Member of the Year

ACCC students voted Gerri Black, Assistant Professor of English, Faculty Member of the Year. She was recognized at the Student Government Association awards banquet in April at the Mays Landing Country Club.

Black, who also served as advisor to Rewrites literary magazine, joined ACCC in September 1992 after serving as an adjunct instructor with Richard Stockton and Burlington County colleges.

She also taught rhetoric and composition at the former Glassboro State College as well as ninth and 12th grade English at Mainland Regional High School.

Gerri Black, Assistant Professor of English

The Egg Harbor Township resident earned a bachelor’s degree in English and humanities and a master’s in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also spent 10 years with the university’s public relations, marketing and advertising departments.

Her contributions include authoring the literary newsletter “First Draft,” along with faculty mentoring and lending expertise to essay reading and the Holocaust Awareness contest.

Culinary Workshop Teaches Sushi Basics

Atlantic Cape Community College's Academy of Culinary Arts will offer a workshop in June about the fundamentals of preparing sushi.

  • "Sushi, Ceviche and Traditional Accompaniments," 6-9 p.m., Monday, June 18, provides an overview of creating your own California and vegetable rolls, tuna rolls and other sushi favorites as well as traditional Latin ceviche for summer parties. The fee for each workshop is $60.

To register for one of these workshops, or for a complete listing of all noncredit workshops this summer, call (609) 343-4829 or (609) 463-4774, ext. 4829, or visit

Register Now for Summer, Fall Courses at ACCC

Registration is under way for ACCC’s five summer sessions and the fall semester. Students can register at the college’s Mays Landing Campus, 5100 Black Horse Pike; the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus, 1535 Bacharach Blvd.; and the Cape May County Campus, 341 Court House-South Dennis Road, Cape May Court House.

Regular registration hours from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. continue weekdays through July 5 for summer and fall courses. Registration for the fall semester only continues through Aug. 31. The college will be closed May 28 and July 4, and on Fridays, June 1 to Aug. 17.

The first summer session is just six weeks, running May 21 to June 28. An eight-week session begins June 25 and continues through Aug. 16, and a second six-week session runs July 9 to Aug. 16. In addition, two accelerated 11-day sessions begin May 21 and June 11. Fall classes start Sept. 4.

Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted. Students can register in person, by mail, fax and online at For a complete listing of courses, visit or call (609) 343-5000, 625-1111 or 463-4774, ext. 5000, for a free schedule.

Rutgers to Hold Open House at ACCC

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will hold several open houses at ACCC this year. ACCC alumni interested in learning how to earn a four-year or master’s degree from Rutgers should attend one of the open houses, 5-7 p.m., June 13, July 19, Sept. 25 and Nov. 15, in Cafeteria B in C-Building on ACCC’s Mays Landing Campus.

Under a new agreement with ACCC, Rutgers offers bachelor’s degree programs in liberal studies and hospitality management, and graduate programs in education and business (MBA), at ACCC’s campuses in Mays Landing and Atlantic City. Counselors will be available to answer questions.

For more information, call Rutgers at ACCC, (609) 343-4995, or visit

Benefits of Membership

Membership in the ACCC Alumni Association, which is open to all students who have received a degree or completed the culinary arts program, will provide you with meaningful discounts and benefits while keeping you informed about the people, programs and events at your alma mater.

With your membership card, you can receive free career counseling and job placement assistance at ACCC’s Career Center. The Center offers guidance and resources to assist you in making informed decisions on career choices. Resources include the FOCUS program, a computer-based career planning program that directs the user to appropriate occupations. FOCUS is available to alumni and requires an orientation session before use. Job placement workshops include resume writing, tips on interviewing and preparation for completing job application forms. For more information on FOCUS, call Hal Lugerner, (609) 343-5627. For information on other Career Center services, call Cynthia Correa, (609)343-4900 or 463-4774, ext. 5274.

If you’re not already an Alumni Association member, call (609) 343-5616 to join, or visit for more membership information. Annual membership dues are $15; lifetime memberships are $150.