Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) awarded associate degrees and certificates to approximately 1,100 graduates its commencement, held Saturday, May 16, on the soccer field at the College’s Branchburg Campus.
New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree during the ceremony.
The program featured RVCC student commencement speaker Stanley Asiegbulem of Bound Brook. Asiegbulem, who emigrated from Nigeria, serves as President of the Black Student Alliance at RVCC. He has been extremely active in social justice programs on campus. Asiegbulem is an Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) student and recently received the EOF Award for academic achievement, the EOF Perseverance Award and the EOF Graduate Award. An English major, he plans to transfer to a four-year school to study creative writing and film.
Dr. John Sichel of Mountainside, RVCC Assistant Professor of Music, delivered the faculty address. Sichel began working as an adjunct at RVCC in 1998 and started teaching full-time at the College in 2008. Sichel is also an award-winning composer; his Garden of Earthly Delights was premiered at RVCC in April by the Monmouth Winds. Other recent works include The Little Dutch Opera, a Piano Quintet, and The Fishbowl Diaries, which was performed last year at RVCC and in Germany. A recording of The Chamber Music of John Sichel, available on CD Baby and ITunes, features the Amphion String Quartet and pianist Hsinyi Tsai. Other recordings by Sichel are available on the Opus One, Newport Classic and Musicians Showcase labels, while his orchestrations of music by Anthony Scarmolin have been recorded on the Naxos and Centaur labels.
Sichel is a 2014 recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship in composition. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Princeton University; a Master of Arts in Music from Columbia University; and a Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale University. At RVCC he teaches Music Theory, Musicianship, Composition, Music History and Introduction to World Music courses and conducts the RVCC Chorale.
Kim Guadagno was sworn in as New Jersey’s first Lieutenant Governor on January 19, 2010, and was elected to a second term in 2013. She also serves as the 33rd Secretary of State.
Lt. Governor Guadagno has been a practicing lawyer for 32 years, admitted in New York and New Jersey. She began her public service career as a federal prosecutor with the Organized Crime & Racketeering Strike Force in Brooklyn, New York, and later became an Assistant United States Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General in New Jersey. She taught at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark for eight years and served for 19 years on the Monmouth Beach Planning and Zoning Board. Her first elected office was as commissioner to the non-partisan Borough of Monmouth Beach where she served from 2005 to 2007 as the head of the Department of Public Works.
In 2007, Kim Guadagno was elected as the first female sheriff in Monmouth County, New Jersey's history. As Sheriff, she managed a 650-member law enforcement agency encompassing the county jail, the county 911 communications center, and a law enforcement department of 100 men and women.
Today, Lt. Governor Guadagno leads the Christie Administration's efforts to improve New Jersey's economic vitality, encourage job growth, streamline government, and make businesses feel welcome again in New Jersey. She chairs the Red Tape Review Commission, which is an ongoing review and reform of the State’s regulatory process, and the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force. The Task Force is charged with forging an effective blueprint for securing the long-term growth and viability of New Jersey's military bases and U.S. Coast Guard installations.
As the Secretary of State, Lt. Governor Guadagno is New Jersey’s chief election official, oversees promotion of the state’s $40 billion tourism industry, and administers programs related to the arts, culture, and history.