Cape May Community College will be breaking new ground one of these days with a new dean to replace Patricia Gentile, who became the college's first full-time dean in 2009 after more than 22 years in various roles with the college.
It is not unusual to look back after a top official leaves an institution to gauge where it is now and the progress made during that person's time in office. Here, in her own words, is Dean Gentile's assessment.
"As the only institution of higher learning in Cape May County, CMCC has become an integral part of good choices for high school seniors and their families re post-secondary education. Affordable, commutable, high quality instruction, transferable credit courses to get certificates or associate degree and then move on to further education, if desired.
"CMCC provides a terrific environment for the returning student — flexible scheduling, online classes (including totally online degrees), professional development programs and courses, continuing education programs for re-entry to the workforce or for advancement purposes.
"CMCC is on the bus line with expanded bus service (thank you, NJ Transit), accessible via Fare Free Transportation, secure and well-lighted parking lot. You can get here from all places in Cape May County.
"Wonderful learning environment with open-to-the-public library, learning center, computers, access to searchable databases, seasoned and helpful librarians.
"One-stop access — (a person) can apply, test, get advised, financial aid, register and pay all at CMCC. No need to travel to Mays Landing.
"Warm and friendly staff, knowledgeable and caring faculty, wide choice of courses."
As mentioned in an earlier article, "ACCC Dean Patricia Gentile Accepts New Job in Massachusetts," the dean was particularly pleased that the remedial program offered by the college allowed area students with insufficient skills in math and English to enter college. That program allowed many students to attend CMCC who otherwise would have been excluded.
Under her leadership, the student enrollment exceeded 1,400 in 2010, up from 749 in Cape May County, just five years after the new campus opened. And, working with the Atlantic Cape Foundation, the amount of endowments and scholarships tripled for students attending CMCC.
Summing up her experience at CMCC, Dean Gentile said, "I've enjoyed my time here. The college has become a true community asset and creates the opportunity for our children, workers and seniors to learn, grow and achieve their educational dreams. I will really miss the students, staff, faculty and community friends!"
We wish Dean Gentile well in her new position and thank her for her service to CMCC and to the people of this community.