Ocean County College sent more than 1,400 students off with associates degrees Thursday night, the culmination of two years of study, as the college continues to expand its four year program and adds a new medical building to its Toms River campus.
Students celebrated with the usual pomp and circumstance as school and civic leaders gave some parting words of wisdom. The keynote speaker, Edele Hovnanian, spoke of her immigrant parents’ dreams of making it in the United States, and their overwhelming success in the real estate industry. The family’s foundation, in honor of Hirair and Anna Hovnanian, Edele’s parents, recently donated $3.75 million to the college’s health sciences program, which will be housed in a state-of-the-art building that opened earlier this month. The family, however, had humble beginnings.
“We didn’t go on vacations, we didn’t go to Disney World, but I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anyone’s.” said Hovnanian. “My parents are very private people, and this is the first time I’m sharing some bits and pieces about them in public. If you can, find a mentor. Everyone needs someone you can trust.”
Hovnanian said her father was a major influence in her life, stressing commitment, and putting in the time it takes to see something through.
“My dad always said, ‘always have a destination and a goal in life,'” she said. “Then you’ll always keep your goals because they’ll always be on your mind.”
Ocean County College presented 49 awards, totaling $55,200, to 71 outstanding students at its ceremony earlier this week.
In addition to student awards, OCC recognized two faculty members with the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award including Dr. David Bordelon, Professor of English (Full-time Faculty), and Dr. Katherine Toy, College Lecture of Business (Professional Educator).