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PR # 233 May 13, 2009


Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) tonight awarded associate degrees and certificates to more than 440 graduates at its 40th annual spring commencement. The ceremony was held in the Edward Nash Theatre at the College?s North Branch Campus.

Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree during the ceremony.

The evening featured RVCC student commencement speaker James Alaggio of Green Brook.

Carol Patterson, RN, of Somerset, an Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Health Science Education Department, delivered the faculty address. Patterson has been teaching at RVCC since 1990 and is a five-year recipient of the Who?s Who Among American Teachers in America designation. She also has received the New Jersey League for Nursing President?s Award. In 2005 a CD-ROM that she helped to create, Professor Nightengale?s Test Taking Strategies for Nursing Students , was awarded the American Nursing Association?s Electronic Media Award. Patterson has an Associate of Applied Science/RN degree from Middlesex County College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Jersey City State College, and a Master?s of Science in Nursing from Seton Hall University. She also has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education from Rutgers University.

Alaggio, who serves as president of RVCC?s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, is also a certified helicopter flight instructor. Alaggio took his first flying lesson at age nine and became a licensed pilot at 16. His other pursuits include developing an afterschool model airplane academy for children and creating a non-profit company, Greenify Earth Foundation (www.greenifyearth.org), which focuses on promoting technologies and techniques to minimize reliance on fossil fuels. His future goals include flying helicopter tours in Hawaii and continuing research and development of technologies for Greenify Earth Foundation.

During the ceremony, Mark Malone of South Bound Brook, who established the Malone Foundation Scholarship at RVCC for physically disabled students, was given the College?s Alumni Achievement Award.

Malone was a student at RVCC when he broke his neck in a swimming accident in 1983. Despite his injury, he returned to the College the following year and graduated in 1986. Malone, who also graduated from Rutgers University in 1989, worked for AT&T for 10 years before leaving to begin the Malone Foundation. In 2004 he went on to a second career as the coordinator of the Somerset County Office of the Disabled.

Booker took the oath of office as Mayor of New Jersey?s largest city on July 1, 2006. Elected with a clear mandate for change, Mayor Booker has begun work on realizing a bold vision for the city. As of July 1, 2008, Newark led the nation among large cities for reductions in shootings and murders, with more than 40 percent reductions in both categories. Radical transformation of the Newark Police Department under Mayor Booker?s leadership, together with the deployment of over 100 surveillance cameras throughout City, has led to Newark setting the nationwide pace for crime reduction.

Under Mayor Booker?s leadership, the City of Newark has committed to a $40 million transformation of the City?s parks and playgrounds through a ground-breaking public/private partnership. The Booker Administration has also doubled affordable housing production within the past two years.

Mayor Booker?s political career began in 1998, after serving as Staff Attorney for the Urban Justice Center in Newark. He rose to prominence as Newark?s Central Ward Councilman. During his years of service from 1998-2002, then-Councilman Booker earned a reputation as a leader with innovative ideas and bold actions, from increasing security in public housing to building new playgrounds. This work was the foundation for his leadership as Mayor. For this work, he has been recognized in numerous publications, including Time , Esquire , New Jersey Monthly (naming him as one of New Jersey?s top 40 under 40), Black Enterprise (naming him to the Hot List, America?s Most Powerful Players under 40) and The New York Times Magazine .

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for 40 years, offers 90 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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