Lincroft, NJ – On Thursday, May 16, Brookdale Community College will welcome graduates, family, friends, and distinguished guests to the 43rd Commencement ceremony at the Collins Area. In order to accommodate graduates requests for tickets, this year’s Commencement will be divided into two ceremonies – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon – to give graduates the opportunity to invite multiple guests.

In the morning ceremony starting at 10 a.m., the Associate of Arts Degree program will begin with a welcome message from College President Dr. Maureen Murphy and Chair of the Board of Trustees Brian Butch. Then a greeting will be given by a graduate, Khomotjo Nkoana, followed by outstanding student awards in English and Reading, and Science and Education.

The morning ceremony will recognize distinguished alumni Michael Ausiello of the class of 1992. At Brookdale, Mr. Ausiello earned an A.A. in Television Production and then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 1995 from the University of Southern California. His career in entertainment reporting includes working for such outlets as Entertainment Tonight, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. In addition to his professional career, Mr. Ausiello has been active in animal rights and a champion of gay and lesbian rights.

For the afternoon ceremony beginning at 3 p.m., graduates from the Associate Degree in Science, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate in Applied Science and the various Academic Credit Certificate Programs will be recognized. Graduate Courtney Griffin will provide the class greeting followed by outstanding student awards in Arts and Communication, Business and Technology, Mathematics and Science/Health Science.

The distinguished alumni award will honor Ms. Susan Ralph from the Class of 1998. Ms. Ralph is the Graduate Program Coordinator at Manna House, a transitional housing program based in Monmouth County for women and children who would otherwise be homeless. Over the past 25 years Manna House has helped 1000 women move from dependency and homelessness to self-sufficiency and hope.

At the afternoon ceremony, an honorary degree will be bestowed upon Risa Clay, Principal of Red Bank Regional High School. Ms. Clay founded the Puente al Futuro (Bridge to the Future) scholarship program, which allows students to enroll in Brookdale’s Fast Start credit program. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible for a scholarship at Brookdale Community College as full-time students.

A total of 2045 Brookdale students will graduate this year. Following each ceremony, President Murphy will distribute diplomas to the more than 550 Brookdale graduates participating in the Commencement ceremonies.