ELIZABETH, NJ — On Oct. 22, a signing ceremony was held between Union County College and the Kitami Institute of Technology of Japan in the Kellogg Building on the Elizabeth Campus. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between Union County College President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin and Kitami President Dr. Suzuki Soichiro. The agreement will provide new academic and study abroad opportunities for students of both institutions.

With this new arrangement, Union students and faculty will be able to participate in collaborative research initiatives, experience joint education programs, including continuing education, and exchange academic materials. Union County College Dean of Elizabeth Campus Dr. Lester Sandres Rápalo has been working to internationalize the College and assisted with the development of this new MOA. During the ceremony, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage and Kitami City Mayor Tsuji Naotaka witnessed the signing. This year marks the City of Elizabeth’s Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Sister City Partnership with Kitami, Japan.

“The signing of today’s agreement will provide new cultural experiences for both Union and Kitami students,” stated Union President Dr. McMenamin. “President Soichiro and I are looking forward to building educational pathways for our students and faculty.”

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Representatives from both institutions and Union students were present for the signing. Twenty-four guests, including ten officials from the Kitami Institute of Technology, traveled to the U.S. to be present for the ceremony. Following the MOA signing, the Japanese delegation took a tour of the College’s Elizabeth campus, led by Dr. Rapalo and Union County College Vice President for Administrative Service Dr. Athos Brewer.

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 20,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.