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President Friedman with PTK Students

Bergen Community College President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., with Phi Theta Kappa students.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., who just completed his first year as the institution’s top official, has earned a national leadership award from the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for community colleges. As one of only 20 presidents from across the country to earn the “Paragon President Award,” Friedman will travel to Denver, Colorado in April for PTK Catalyst 2022, the honor society’s annual convention.

“These college presidents have students-first leadership styles and have made it a priority to keep students engaged throughout the pandemic,” PTK President and CEO Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Ph.D., said. “Their nomination is evidence of the gratitude their PTK students feel for supporting them and students like them – even during the most difficult times.”

The award recognizes college presidents and CEOs – nominated by students – who have served their institutions for less than three years and who have shown support of student success initiatives leading to stronger pathways to completion, transfer and employment. Additionally, the leaders have taken an active interest in supporting high-achieving students and developing student leaders on campus. PTK selected the 20 recipients, including Friedman, from an eligible field of more than 400 leaders.

“I am incredibly honored to receive the Paragon President Award,” Friedman said. “From scholarships, to service learning and academic support, PTK represents a critical partner for Bergen and our students. For its leaders to recognize my contributions as exemplary is truly humbling and rewarding.”

Friedman, the eighth president of New Jersey’s largest community college, began his tenure at Bergen Jan. 1, 2021. The president came to Bergen after working for 13 years at Hudson County Community College, where he served as the executive vice president and provost/chief operating office. There, he earned the 2015 “Distinguished College Administrator Award” from PTK as well. Friedman earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from the New School for Social Research, an M.A. in humanities and social thought from New York University, and a B.A. in English from the University of Denver.

PTK is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.8 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 countries, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges. Learn more at ptk.org.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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