Brookdale Community College awarded degrees and certificates to 1,884 students in two graduation ceremonies at the college’s 49th annual commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 16. Brookdale also acknowledged seven outstanding student award winners (editor’s note: click here for profiles on each student) and presented honorary degrees to two individuals and honored two more with Distinguished Alumni Awards.
The honorary degree recipients included Diane Raver, co-founder of the Garden State Film Festival (GSFF). GSFF made its debut in Asbury Park in 2003 and has grown substantially over the years. The 2019 event featured more than 240 films and attracted more than 25,000 people.
Brookdale also presented an honorary degree to Francine Acquaviva. As a wife and mother of four sons, she worked with her husband Ron to grow the family’s business enterprises, The Acquaviva Companies. The building and construction business has played an active role in the development of Holmdel and surrounding areas.
The Distinguished Alumni Award honorees included Thomas Bonhag ’14. He enjoyed a successful 46-year career in the financial services industry, holding senior level positions at AXA Financial, Winged Keel Group, the deBart Group, the Equitable Life Assurance Society and Chase Manhattan Bank. He is a member of the Red Cross Disaster Health Services team and was deployed to California in 2018 to aid victims of the California wildfires.
Sheriff Shaun Golden ’89 received Brookdale’s Distinguished Alumni Award. As the 76th Sheriff of Monmouth County, Sheriff Golden oversees law enforcement, communications, corrections and administration of the Monmouth County Police Academy and the Office of Emergency Management. His experience includes serving as an EMT, certified paramedic and volunteer firefighter. As Sheriff, he has been instrumental in promoting shared services in Monmouth County, specifically through the expansion of the Communications Division.
Outstanding Student Award winners (left to right) Delgira Samtonova, Brian Sandy, Michael Desch, President Dr. David Stout, Lauren Deinhardt, Jessica Salazar-Aparicio and Erica Mittenzwei.