It is with a profound sense of loss that we announce the death of Ray Bateman -- an inspirational leader and beloved friend. Ray Bateman was the heart and soul of Raritan Valley Community College, guiding the College from its infancy to become a nationally recognized institution of higher learning. In his four decades on the Board of Trustees, including 26 years as chairman, he left his mark on all aspects of the College, tirelessly advocating for academic excellence, affordable tuition, state-of-art facilities and diversity on campus.
Ray’s influence extended far beyond RVCC. His vision and drive led to the creation of the community college system in New Jersey, opening up access to higher education to hundreds of thousands of individuals. Today, in all corners of New Jersey, there are successful men and women who got their start at a community college.
Ray’s contributions to the success of RVCC are too long to list but include forging the agreement between Somerset and Hunterdon counties that led to the establishment of New Jersey’s first bi-county community college; constructing the Theatre, Planetarium, Conference Center, Child Care Center, Science Center and West Building; fostering partnerships with the business community and local high schools; advocating for full voting privileges for the alumni representative to the Board of Trustees; promoting diversity on campus; and championing the necessity of keeping higher education affordable for our students.
Ray Bateman loved RVCC. He could be seen on campus early in the morning walking on the track with his dog and late into the evening attending theatre performances, community events or student activities. It’s hard to imagine RVCC without Ray Bateman, but we are fortunate to have the Ray Bateman Center for Student Life and Leadership to remind us of his extraordinary service to the College and the state of New Jersey. The building stands as a tribute to a remarkable leader who spent a lifetime creating opportunities for students to grow, dream and succeed in life.
I want to share with you a quote from Senator Raymond Bateman’s life-long friend and member of the RVCC Board of Trustees, Dr. Paul J. Hirsch. “Ray Bateman was a friend, a mentor and a visionary leader. He devoted more than 40 years of his life to the success of Raritan Valley Community College and its students. As the driving force behind the law creating the community college system in New Jersey, he was committed to opening up access to higher education to all New Jersey residents regardless of their backgrounds or financial circumstances. He never wavered in his commitment to keeping community college tuition affordable while setting high academic standards. I was proud and honored to serve beside Ray for three decades on the Board of Trustees and to be inspired by his passion and commitment to providing our students with every available opportunity to succeed in school and in life. The Ray Bateman Center for Student Life and Leadership stands as a wonderful legacy to Ray’s lifetime of commitment to enriching lives through the power of education.” We send our heartfelt condolences to the Bateman family.
(Editors Note: The staff at the Raritan Valley Record sends its condolences to the Bateman family. Ray was a true champion for community college education in not only Somerset and Hunterdon Counties but New Jersey as well. Memorial Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on July 9 at the Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College. Donations can be made to North Branch Reformed Church, The Ray Bateman Student Center for Student Life and Leadership at RVCC, or the Pleasant Pond Protective Association in lieu of flowers.)
Featured Image: Ray Bateman at the February 6, 2014 opening of the Bateman Center for Student Life and Leadership—a sustainable facility designed for collaborative learning, leadership building and student activities at RVCC. Photo courtesy RVCC Website.