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MCCC Recognizes Five Women Leaders in N.J. Community Colleges


West Windsor, NJ:  Mercer County Community College’s chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) honored five community college professional women at a breakfast event, “Celebrating Women Leaders in Community Colleges,” on April 15.  The event was part of events for Community College Month.

Each honoree received the “Patricia C. Donohue Leadership Award.”  Dr. Donohue, who is president of Mercer County Community College, is president emerita of the national AAWCC.

Speaking about “The Role of Women in Community Colleges” was Linda E. Lam, vice president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.

MCCC's Dr. Khalida Haqq, left, and President Patricia C. Donohue, right, with the five awardees, from left, Dr. Bette M. Simmons of County College of Morris,Sharon Wedington of Camden County College, Dr. Patricia Gentile of Atlantic Cape Community College, Patricia Claghorn of Gloucester County College, and Lucia Brown-Joseph of Mercer County Community College.

Joining Dr. Donohue in presenting awards were MCCC’s Dr. Khalida Haqq, who is president of the AAWCC Mercer Chapter and director of MCCC’s Programs for Academic Services and Success. Also speaking was Dr. Linda Martin, MCCC’s dean of Science and Health Professions, who is the Region II director and a member of the national board.


Lucia Brown-Joseph
is bursar at Mercer County Community College, and advisor to the African American Student Organization, which hosts numerous events each year for Black History Month, Kwanzaa and Martin Luther King Day. Students chose her as “Advisor of the Year” in 2009 and 2011. She spearheaded a mini conference, called “The Making of a Female Executive from Hair to High Heels.” In addition to her role as bursar, she teaches college success seminars and is a member of the New Jersey Bursar’s Association. She is also a member of the New Horizon Praise dance team, which performs for nonprofit organizations, and is a volunteer for the MCCC Foundation. Dr. Donohue described her as exemplifying excellent customer service to all members of the college community.

Patricia Claghorn is dean of Continuing Education/Institutional Advancement at Gloucester County College. As a coordinator of the Plant Executives of Gloucester and Salem Counties, she has highlighted many female CEO’s, putting a face on professional women throughout her community. She also plans and coordinates the Gloucester County College Women in Technology Fair, which includes junior high school female scholars who learn about science, technology and engineering careers. Through her position at GCC, she has encouraged her staff to strive for and achieve success, and is decribed as a dynamic campus leader.

Dr. Patricia Gentile is dean of Continuing Education, Resource Development and Cape May County Campus Operations at Atlantic Cape Community College.  She is one of the “Founding Mother” of the Alice Paul Foundation” which preserves the home of this New Jersey suffragist and honors her legacy. Dr. Gentile started the Working Women Scholarship Fund for at-risk Cape May County female students.  She was a panelist at the 10th Annual Women’s Conference on “Leadership Roles for Women…Looking Back…Looking Forward,” and is active with the Girl Scouts of America.

Dr. Bette M. Simmons is vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Management at the County College of Morris.  She is involved with the Morristown Neighborhood House, the Morris County Human Relations Commission, the Calvary Baptist Church Community Development Corporation, the Morristown Juvenile Conference Committee, the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, Community Hope Inc., and the Morris County Sexual Assault Advisory Board.  She serves on the board of the National Association of Women in Education.

Sharon Wedington is vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at Camden County College.  She has served students through the Upward Bound program and the financial aid office. She has mentored generations of women at the college, including students, staff and fellow administrators, many of whom have achieved success in leadership positions. She also teaches teen Sunday school classes at her church.

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