More than 240 years ago, our nation’s founders envisioned a country where individuals could forge their own destinies and not be constrained by the circumstances of birth. The essential concept was that people could govern themselves and participate in democracy, or what Benjamin Franklin and others called “a great experiment.” The vision was bold and has flourished as the United States has come to symbolize freedom around the world.

To be sure, the greatest note of gratitude goes to our veterans and active-duty men and women who have sacrificed deeply to ensure our way of life. A note of gratitude should also go to our educational institutions where democracy is reborn day after day. As a result of supportive community members, educators are able to teach people how to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively and nurture democracy through civic engagement. On our campuses, we invest the time and resources to equip individuals to improve their lives and the lives of others. In short, education ensures that democracy and its benefits can be realized by all people for the greatest collective good.

As President of County College of Morris (CCM), I want to thank you – our business partners, community members and elected officials – for the support you have shown our institution for decades. In fact, this year marks CCM’s 50th anniversary. With more than 50,000 alumni positively impacting Morris County and beyond, we – college and community – have a lot to celebrate. On behalf of CCM’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, faculty, staff, administration and students, I am pleased to share some of our recent accomplishments:

Sign Up for E-News

•    Rated one of New Jersey’s Best County Colleges for Quality and Affordability.

•    Ranked #1 in Alumni Salaries.

•    Graduated nearly 1,300 students this year. CCM has one of highest degree completion/transfer rates among community colleges in New Jersey. To learn how you can become another CCM success story, call 973-328-5100 or visit www.ccm.edu/admissions/.

•    Completed an independent study showing CCM provides a $474 million economic impact to Morris County, a 17-1 return-on-investment to taxpayers and a 12-1 return for students. National studies repeatedly confirm education remains one of the best financial investments individuals can make.

•    Launched our “Forward” campaign to support new facilities and initiatives that has realized $1.8 million in its inaugural year.

•    Obtained the support of county Freeholders, legislative assembly members and community donors to construct a regional Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Center to meet the evolving needs of employers.

•    Received the generous support of the Paragano Family Foundation to develop a simulated medical center to train healthcare students.

•    Gained the coveted Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency endorsement as a National Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Security Education, making CCM the only two-year college in New Jersey to receive that designation.

•    Forged new transfer agreements with Bloomfield and Ramapo colleges, and Centenary, Drew, Rider and Rutgers universities to make it easier for students to earn a bachelor’s after earning their associate degree. CCM now has agreements with more than 20 colleges and universities.

•    Expanded the Rutgers at CCM offerings to include bachelor's degrees in business. Rutgers also offers bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and psychology at CCM.

•    Posted a 100 percent pass rate on the national licensure exam by our radiography students.

•    Obtained a 94 percent pass rate on the national licensure exam by our nursing students.

•    Provided hundreds of students with life-changing internships, practical learning opportunities and educational experiences locally and globally.

•    Hosted more than 40 community and charitable organizations on campus.

•    Provided more than a dozen musical, theatrical, dance and visual arts programs for community members in support of Morris County’s rich heritage in the arts.

•    Contributed countless hours of assistance through the volunteer service of our employees with community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Homeless Solutions, and on boards and committees, including the county’s Strategic Planning Committee.

•    Assisted more than 5,000 individuals as part of our redesigned workforce development programs. Our mission is to help people get a job, obtain a better job or achieve greater success in a current job; serve as one of Morris County’s economic engines; and support industry partners. For more information, call 973-328-5185 or visit www.ccm.edu/workforce/.

At CCM we do great things everyday but we do even greater things with the support of the community. Thank you for being our best partners for 50 years. We look forward to our continued work together to build a bright future.