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Full Circle: MCCC Alumnus Marsha Stoltman Returns to Campus as Commencement Speaker


WEST WINDSOR – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) alumnus Marsha Stoltman’s ’81 (A.A.S., Business) connection to the college has come on numerous levels – as an employee, as a student, and as a member of the college Board of Trustees. In May, she added commencement speaker to that list.

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as the first alumni commencement speaker,” Stoltman said in her address to graduates. “Some of you, I know, will inevitably play this role in the future.”

Even though Stoltman is the first alumnus to deliver the keynote address at a Mercer graduation, her path to the dais was hardly direct. A native of St. Louis who at first was a reluctant transplant to New Jersey, Stoltman initially came to Mercer as a part-time secretary. That part-time job connected her with counselors, who encouraged her to complete her Business degree. While she graduated in 1981 and moved on to take a job with Dow Jones & Company, it was far from the end of her relationship with MCCC.

“While it was exhilarating and life-changing, I knew this was not the end, but only the beginning,” Stoltman said. “I was not done with Mercer, nor was it done with me.”

Marsha Stoltman

MCCC alumnus Marsha Stoltman delivered the kenote address to the Mercer County Community College Class of 2016.

In the fall of 1981, Stoltman was elected as the student representative to the MCCC Board of Trustees, and in 1983, she was appointed by New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean as a full voting member of the board, a post she would hold for 16 years. During that time, she would serve on the national trustee board – the Association of Community College Trustees – for six years.

“Those years only enhanced my love for, and appreciation of, community colleges,” Stoltman said.

While continuing to serve the college and the community, Stoltman would continue her career at Dow Jones and eventually move on to other corporate endeavors in client services, sales, marketing, and eventually event planning. She served as the head of the newspaper division of Princeton-based The Kelsey Group, and as vice president and general manager of Editor and Publisher Conferences, a trade organization for the newspaper industry.

In 2001, Stoltman turned entrepreneur and launched The Stoltman Group, a full-service conference and event planning firm. She has grown the business to provide conference and trade show planning for Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and governmental entities.

“Entrepreneurship is tough, nor for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heart,” Stoltman said, noting that in the beginning, there were some lean years.

But now that she has celebrated 15 years in business, Stoltman said she has no regrets and credits her solid grounding in a community college education as a key to her success.

“My career travels have brought me back to community colleges numerous times,” Stoltman said. “Community colleges are all about student success; community colleges are the people’s colleges. Community colleges are not just where young people come to start their college career, but where all people come.”



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