Brookdale Community College is celebrating a historic milestone on April 18th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a Shakespearean flourish and an equally remarkable celebration. In addition to honoring the Bard’s birthday, the college will commemorate 50 years of service by one of its beloved figures, Jack Ryan, with a unique event that echoes the spirit of the annual Shakespeare Birthday Read-a-thon.

Jack Ryan has been an integral part of the Brookdale family for half a century. From his humble beginnings as a young administrator to his current status as a revered institution, Ryan’s dedication and passion have left an indelible mark on generations of students, faculty, and alums.

The event, organized by Professor James Cody, D.Litt., a stalwart in Brookdale’s English department, who was handed the baton of teaching Shakespeare at Brookdale Community College by Carl Calendar, Ph.D. in 2008, has been orchestrating the Shakespeare Birthday Read-a-thon, an occasion cherished by many within the Brookdale community for the last sixteen years.

“What inspired me to hold this tribute was Jack’s impact on our community,” Cody expressed. “Just like Shakespeare’s works, Jack’s presence has brought joy, laughter, may I say interrogation, and moments of deep reflection to countless individuals over the years.”

In addition to honoring Jack Ryan, the celebration will welcome Bernie Weinstein, a distinguished World War II veteran who received an honorary degree from Brookdale in 2016. At 97 years young, Bernie, a longtime attendee of Calendar’s Shakespeare class, has been an inspiration to many, only recently pausing his studies due to Covid.

Adding to the sentiment of the occasion, Carl Calendar will also be present, bridging past and present as the community comes together to celebrate.

Emphasizing the celebration’s inclusive nature, Cody remarked, “It’s about embracing camaraderie and sharing in the joy of storytelling, whether it’s through the words of Shakespeare or the anecdotes of Jack Ryan.”

The event will serve as a reminder of the power of community and the lasting impact of dedicated individuals like Jack Ryan. As participants came together to honor his 50 years of service, they reaffirmed unity, inclusivity, and appreciation for the arts.

The Read-a-thon will be held at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) Black Box Theater
Parking lot 1 or 2 to the Performing Arts Center.