In accordance with College regulation 2.0012R, Official Recognition of Members of Community and Guests of the College, the Honorary Degree Committee met and nominations for honorary degree recipients were solicited and evaluated, after which the Committee voted on proposed candidates.The public and the college community (employees, students, Trustees, and alumni) were notified and encouraged to nominate a candidate worthy of this honor. The deadline for nominations was February 28, 2017.
To be eligible for consideration, a nominee needs to have achieved excellence in one or more of the following:
- Professional Accomplishments
- Community/Public Service
- Personal Accomplishments
- Inspirational Life Achievements (with which the candidate might inspire Brookdale students)
Honorary Degree Committee Members are Co-Chairs Tim Zeiss (Foundation & Alumni Affairs) and Eric Goll (Faculty); Dinneen Jackson, Administration; Lauren Watson, Alumna; and, Rob Quinones, Administration.
The two people selected to receive Honorary Degrees at Brookdale’s 2017 commencement ceremony are:
Carol Stillwell is President of Stillwell Hansen, Inc. a New Jersey-based distributor of quality HVAC, network and equipment protection, and fire detection and suppression systems. The company was founded by her late husband Gordon in April 1969. Carol joined the company in August 1969. Carol Stillwell came of age at this time. A young woman with dreams of entering the field of construction – a profession that was strongly male dominated – Carol remained undaunted and focused. She used whatever opportunities were available to her to build a career and follow her dream. Rather than accepting being told “no,” Carol saw what she could make possible. She worked her way up and made her dream come true. She is now at the helm of an award-winning business in a traditionally male-dominated field. Carol has subsequently been recognized as one of the top women business leaders in New Jersey in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
She is accomplished business woman, equestrian, and philanthropist who supports a wide variety of local non-profit organizations including The Juvenile Diabetes Association, Meridian, Monmouth Medical Center, The Food Bank, The Community YMCA, The Girl Scouts, the Ashley Lauren Foundation, the Brookdale Community College Foundation and so many more. She was Honored at the Brookdale Foundation Scholarship in 2014 and has served as Co-Chair of the Brookdale Foundation Scholarship Ball since 2015.
Rodriguez was appointed as Executive Director of the FoodBank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties in 2012. Recognized as one of the foremost voices in anti-hunger, has nearly 20 years of experience in the field. Prior to his current positon, he worked for the Food Bank for New York City (FBNY) where he served as vice president for agency relations and benefits access; he has also held high-level positions with the Children’s Defense Fund of New York and the Community Food Resource Center. Throughout his career, Rodriguez has worked to improve policies and delivery of services to those in need. He was instrumental in increasing NYC’s nearly 1,000 hunger relief programs ability to end hunger by developing programs and providing resources to frontline providers that address the root cause of hunger – poverty. He has worked closely with officials, non-profit leaders, and funders at all levels to identify and implement strategies addressing hunger and poverty. He cites his South Bronx roots as one of his primary inspirations.
Today, the FoodBank distributes more than 10 million meals annually through a network of over 300 feeding programs. But hunger in Monmouth and Ocean Counties is no longer a crisis that can be remedied with emergency food alone. That’s why the FoodBank works toward long-term solutions to the chronic problem of food insecurity. Through programs and services like their Culinary Training Program and nutrition education, and outreach programs such as SNAP and free tax assistance, they are working to build food-secure communities.
Past Honorary Degree Recipients
2005—2006 Dr. Margaret Parker
2006—2007 George Waple, Kevin Smith
2007—2008 Rev. Dr. Henry Davis, Tim McLoone
2008-2009 Denny Walling, Greg Mortenson
2009-2010 Gwendolyn Love, Barbara McMorrow
2012 Rev. Robert F. Kaeding
2013 Risa Clay
2014 Marshawn Love, Cindy Zipf
2015 David Prown and David Goldman