Welcome to 2024! Read the Berkeley College: A Year in Review

Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Contact: Kelly Depsee
Senior Director, Communications and External Relations

Berkeley 2023

Welcome to 2024! Berkeley College begins the new year by highlighting the top events, accomplishments, and news stories of 2023. 

The new year is filled with opportunities for our community of lifelong learners as they pursue bright futures. We thank our dedicated faculty and staff, as well as our valued business and community partners who support us in our mission of empowering students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers. 

We wish you happiness and good health in 2024. 

Commencement 2023 at Prudential Center

Berkeley Commencement
Berkeley College celebrated the perseverance and achievements of more than 1,100 graduates during a Commencement ceremony on May 11, 2023, at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The graduating class included 69 military and veteran graduates, 57 international students from 22 countries, future healthcare heroes, and many first-generation college students. 

Pattie Cowan, Professor, English, Division of General Education, served as Faculty Speaker. Maria Rosario Behun, Vice President and Community Manager, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and a 2016 Berkeley College graduate, was named Alumna of the Year. 

Cadjnie Cameau received the Outstanding Student Award and Angeline Gil delivered remarks as Student Speaker. Gil’s story was featured in the Paterson Press and on NorthJersey.com. 

New Degree Programs and Initiatives

Berkeley Promise
Berkeley College announced the Newark Promise Grant, an opportunity for qualified residents of Essex County, NJ, to pursue an Associate’s degree without incurring any loans for tuition and fees. Qualified New Jersey residents can also earn an Associate’s debt-free through the Berkeley College Opportunity Grant

Berkeley College offers discounted tuition in the Master of Business Administration in Management program to qualified New York City government employees through the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program (MGSP)

In May, the New York State Board of Regents approved the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree program, to be offered online and on site at the New York City campus. In September, the New York State Education Department approved the Bachelor of Science in Applied Media degree program, to be offered online and on site at the New York City campus. Both degrees are pending approval by the U.S. Department of Education.

National and Regional Excellence

Berkeley NJBIZ
Berkeley College was among the recipients of the inaugural NJBIZ Empowering Women Award (pictured above), honoring companies for their tangible and innovative efforts to advance women in the workplace. 

U.S. News & World Report ranked Berkeley College among the Best Colleges in the nation for Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for the 10th consecutive year. The ranking also recognized Berkeley College among the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Veterans and in the category Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs – Business. For the first time, the Berkeley College Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management program is included on the list of Best Online MBA Programs. 

Berkeley College was recognized by U.S. News & World Report among its Best Regional Colleges/Universities in the North in the 2023-2024 edition of the Best Colleges survey. Berkeley College was also ranked among the Best Regional Colleges/Universities in the North for Social Mobility, assessing how well schools graduate economically disadvantaged students. 

Newsweek and Statista, a global business data platform, honored Berkeley College on their list of America’s Top Online Colleges for 2024, and Military Times once again ranked the College on its 2023 “Best for Vets” list

Cigna selected Berkeley College as a recipient of its Silver Healthy Workforce Designation™ for demonstrating a strong commitment to improving the health and well-being of its employees through a wellness program. 

New Leadership

Berkeley Leaders
Berkeley College named Patty Greer, JD, as Provost, effective August 7, 2023. As the Chief Academic Officer of the College, the Provost is responsible for the overall academic vision that will contribute to Berkeley College’s future of excellence in career-focused education. Greer joined Berkeley College in 1997 as a faculty member and has held several leadership roles. 

In January, the College named Jenny Sena, DHSc, as Dean, School of Health Studies. Sena began her career as a microbiologist at hospitals in New York City and later became a Physician Assistant, working in the areas of emergency medicine, pediatrics, urgent care, and employee health. 

Giving Back to Our Communities

Berkeley Community
Faculty, staff, and alumni volunteers came together to support the good works of nonprofits and local organizations during Berkeley College’s 13th annual Community Service Week (pictured above left). 

The College’s annual pre-Thanksgiving networking event brought together alumni and the business community to collect food donations for the Berkeley College Foundation food pantries (pictured above right). 

In December, the Office of Student Development and Campus Life, the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Berkeley College Alumni Association hosted an annual toy drive, supporting St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in New Jersey and Toys for Tots in New York. Volunteers also honored America’s heroes by placing wreaths at the graves of veterans as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Week

Berkeley Women
Trailblazers in business, fashion, media, and information technology shared their career journeys during Berkeley College’s ninth annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week event, held in October. More than 150 students, business leaders, and aspiring entrepreneurs attended “The Power to Empower: Paying It Forward in Business,” which was livestreamed and held in-person at the Woodland Park campus. The event was headlined by Jaime Wynn, President, Jimmy Choo Americas, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management from Berkeley College. 

Awards and Recognitions

Berkeley Christiansen
In March, Diane Recinos, EdD, President of Berkeley College, was named to City & State New York’s Higher Education Power 100 list, featuring the most influential leaders of New York’s colleges and universities. City & State also recognized Amy Soricelli, Vice President, Career Services, among its 2023 Above & Beyond: Women

The United States Collegiate Athletic Association named Chris Christiansen, Head Coach Emeritus of the New York Men’s Basketball team (pictured above), among its 2022-2023 Hall of Fame inductees. During his 22-year tenure as Head Coach, Christiansen led the Knights to seven consecutive appearances in the USCAA Division II National Basketball Tournament, as well as nine regional championships. 

NJBIZ honored James Marshmon, Director, Student Development and Campus Life and Manager of the Berkeley College Foundation Food Pantry, among its inaugural Veterans in Business Award honorees. Marshmon is a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard. 

The External Engagement team was honored with creative and design honors by the GDUSA American Inhouse Design Awards and the annual Davey Awards, judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. The Web team also received the 2023 Hannon Hill Cassie Award for being an “Early Adopter” of the system’s features. 

Student Academic Achievement

Berkeley Students
Graphic Design students have entered the metaverse, through the launch of the GRD Virtual Gallery. The gallery displays hundreds of curated works in photography, painting, drawing, and motion graphics – allowing students to reach employers and showcase their creativity. 

Honors scholars tackled challenging social justice topics during the annual Honors Scholars Research Symposium in July and August. In December, student Victoria Rizzi presented her Honors research on sustainable design during the Middle States Commission on Higher Education 2023 Annual Conference (pictured above right). 

Students Chavonne Brown and Tania Mottos were among the recipients of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) Rising Star Award, which honors college students who exhibit business leadership potential. Mottos was also named to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Student Voting Honor Roll, recognizing college students who advance nonpartisan student voter engagement. 

The American Society of Interior Designers recognized student Meghan Maldonado as a semifinalist in its Student Portfolio Competition, showcasing excellence in concept, content, context, and execution of design.

In September, 21 students learned what it takes to execute a successful showcase at New York Fashion Week, as they interned for designer Chuks Collins, Berkeley College’s designer-in-residence (pictured above left). The students assisted with research, fittings, accessorizing, and pre-show planning, as well as back-of-house and front-of-house tasks during Collins’ Spring 2024 showcase, “Marine Euphoria: A Harmonious Tribute to Oceanic Splendor.” 

Healthcare Heroes Answer the Call

Berkeley Nursing
The Berkeley College School of Health Studies recognized graduates of the College’s Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (LPN to BSN) and Practical Nurse (PN) programs during pinning ceremonies in April, August, and December. 

The graduates, who enter the profession at a time when communities are facing a critical shortage of healthcare workers, recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge, promising to uphold the integrity of the nursing vocation. 

Chamber and Community Connections

Berkeley Chambers
In January, members of the business community examined topics at the intersection of business and education during the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce Think TANK, featuring remarks by Michele Pillari, EdD, Woodland Park Schools Superintendent. 

In April, business leaders emphasized “community and collaboration” during a Newark Networking Breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Alan Sickles, MD, CEO, Saint Michael’s Medical Center. Also in April, Berkeley College faculty shared strategies with business owners seeking to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in their organizations, during a Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce – Business Owner Resource Center event at the Woodbridge campus. 

In June, Berkeley College welcomed the Alfred H. Baumann Free Public Library to its Woodland Park campus during a Grand Partnership celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony (pictured above left). The Woodland Park Public Library at Berkeley College, as it will be known during its estimated two-year stay, will offer all materials, services, and programming on campus while the Borough embarks on construction of a new facility. In November, the College partnered with the Library and the Woodland Park Historical Society for a presentation on the history of the Woodland Park property. 

In June, the Woodland Park campus continued its successful “Be A Part of It” community networking event, welcoming businesses and the community to tour the campus, speak with the Berkeley College Career Services team about employment needs, and learn about Corporate Learning Partnerships, which offer discounted tuition to employees seeking skills to advance their careers. 

This summer, the Newark campus welcomed hundreds of high school students and young adults to campus, as they developed workforce skills during the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program (pictured above right). 

Standout Speakers

Berkeley Speakers
Throughout the year, the Fashion Department hosted a series of Bosses@Berkeley and Berkeley Fashion Forum events, featuring informative conversations and meet-and-greets with leading fashion professionals. 

In February, Berkeley College Accessibility Services and the Helen Keller National Center presented “The Diversity in the DeafBlind Community,” a virtual event focused on accessibility, empowerment, and inclusion, featuring Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Doug Roland. 

In September, leaders in entertainment, education, and athletics shared their journeys to success during “Comunidad, Educación, y Cultura,” a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration (pictured above left). 

In October, the Berkeley College Library offered a Social Emotional Learning Workshop, featuring social worker and facilitator Love M. Gaillard. 

In November, Billy Keenan, a teacher, musician, and athlete who suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in 2013, shared his message of faith and resilience with a captivated audience (pictured above right). Also in November, Greg Mingo of The Innocence Project, who was wrongfully accused and incarcerated for 40 years, spoke about prison reform and his work to create positive change during “Insights into the Unimaginable,” held at the New York City campus. 

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Justice League Club hosted “From Asylum to Forced Deportation: Migration Stories from Cambodian-American Genocide Survivor Phoen You,” featuring a conversation broadcast from Cambodia. 

Corporate Learning Partnerships and Continuing Education

Berkeley CLP
In July, Berkeley College launched Partners: The Corporate Learning Partnership (CLP) Newsletter, to share news with existing CLPs, as well as opportunities related to professional development, stackable credentials, and more. Recent issues have featured stories on Visions Federal Credit Union (pictured above left), which joined as a CLP in July, and ULMA Form Works, Inc. Thirteen companies joined as Berkeley College CLPs in 2023, gaining access to customized training and tuition reduction for their employees.

The Berkeley College Continuing Education initiative continues to offer hands-on, practitioner-focused programs and courses to meet the needs of professionals seeking to advance in their careers or enter a new field. Program highlights include an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Certificate; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Certificate; Human Resources Management Certificate, Medical Billing Training program; Project Management Certificate; Social Justice and Welfare Certificate; Interior Design Certificate; Graphic Design Certificate; Project Management Certificate; Public-Private Partnerships Certificate; Digital and Social Media Certificate, Entrepreneurship Certificate, Community Health Worker Certificate; and online Graduate Certificates in Healthcare Management, Accounting, Financial Management, Human Resources Management, Supply Chain Management, and Law Enforcement and Executive Management that may be applied to the Master of Business Administration program at Berkeley College.

The second phase of the New York City Football Club Professional Development Project – “Effective Leadership for Managers,” “Leadership Skills for New Managers” (pictured above right), and “Intern Career Services Training” was completed in 2023.

Athletic Accomplishments

In February, the Men’s Basketball team secured its eighth consecutive Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) Tournament victory. In March, the Knights fell to Kent State Tuscarawas in pursuit of their fifth United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II National Championship. The HVIAC recognized six Knights with All-Conference honors. The USCAA honored four players on the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams with accolades. 

For the second consecutive season, the Men’s Soccer team captured the HVIAC title, defeating Word of Life Bible Institute in November (pictured above right). The Knights fell to the Wildcats of Johnson & Wales University in the USCAA Division II National title match. 

The USCAA and HVIAC recognized several Berkeley College student-athletes for their athletic and academic accomplishments during the 2023 soccer season, including student-athlete Suad Lukovic who was named HVIAC the Player of the Year. 

Spotlight on Alumni

Berkeley Alumni
In March, Berkeley College alumnus Maurice Barrett presented “Eliminating Unconscious Bias in the Workplace,” encouraging organizations to advance diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion initiatives (pictured above left). 

In June, the Alumni Association organized a NYC Dinner Cruise, which also raised funds in support of the Berkeley College Foundation. 

In October, alumni were invited back to the Woodland Park campus for a historical walk and ghost tour. Alumni reconnected with their alma mater while exploring the rich history and intriguing stories associated with the campus. 

In December, graduates enjoyed an Alumni Holiday Reception and collected toys for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ (pictured above right). 

Stories about graduates, their experiences on campus, and their contributions to their fields of study are featured on the Alumni Spotlight page of the Berkeley College website

Foundation Highlights

Berkeley Foundation
The Berkeley College Foundation announced the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors. New members include Jonathan Santiago, Executive Director, Transition and College Access Centers, New York City Department of Education; and Mike Lamendola, Vice President, Community Engagement, Greater Bergen Community Action, Inc. Edison Jaquez, Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Passion Care Center, was named President of the Berkeley College Alumni Leadership Council and an Ex-Officio on the Foundation Board. 

In June, the Foundation’s 6th Annual Golf Outing, held at the Basking Ridge Country Club, attracted a record number of golfers, and in November, 14 high-achieving Berkeley College students received scholarships from the Foundation (pictured above). 

Berkeley Leaders Share Expertise

Berkeley Rivera
In February, Paul Pensabene, PhD, Management, Berkeley College Larry L. Luing School of Business® shared his business insights with New Jersey Business Magazine for the article “Can You Teach Someone to be an Entrepreneur?” 

Jason Gulya, PhD, English, Division of General Education, shared his experience with Chat GPT and artificial intelligence with a number of publications, including Business Insider, Higher Education Digest, and the Wisdom.MBA podcast

In August, Andrea Kennedy, Lead Faculty, Fashion Merchandising and Management, Berkeley College Larry L. Luing School of Business®, spoke about traceability in fashion for an article in California Apparel News.

In September, Maria Rivera, Director of Continuing Education, spoke about Berkeley College’s Continuing Education programs, as well as certificates and stackable credentials, on the BronxNet program “Meeting of the Minds,” presented by the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (pictured above). 

Inside Berkeley

Berkeley All Associate
In 2023, the Office of the President launched “Berkeley Insights,” a weekly Lunch and Learn webinar series seeking to provide faculty and staff with a greater understanding of all facets of the College. Topics have covered working with Chat GPT, the history of the College, and more. 

In May, Berkeley College applauded its faculty during Teacher Appreciation Week. The College’s dedicated professors recently shared their insights on timely topics such as what excites them about teaching, the ways in which students inspire them, and their advice for the next generation. 

In October, faculty and staff from all campuses came together to connect, collaborate, and envision the future, during All Associates Day (pictured above). 

50 Years of Rennert

Berkeley Rennert
In 2023, Rennert International, New York City’s premier language school, celebrated 50 years of connecting the world through language. In recognition of its 50th year, Rennert launched a rebranding campaign that features a 50th anniversary seal, a modern logo, and a new tagline, “Language Solutions for Life.” The organization hosted a celebration at the Dean New York in November. 

Rennert joined Berkeley College in 2018 and is now headquartered at the College’s New York City campus on 41st street. Through the partnership, Rennert students experience a streamlined pathway to higher education, while Berkeley College students benefit from Rennert’s ESL resources and outbound study abroad programs.

About Berkeley College 

Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers Continuing Education programs to enhance career credentials. 

Berkeley College has campuses in New York City and in Newark, Woodbridge, and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 3,500 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for 10 consecutive years. Berkeley College was also ranked among the Best Regional Colleges/Universities in the North in the 2023-2024 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges survey. The website address is https://BerkeleyCollege.edu.