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Members of the Bergen Community College class of 2023 at last year’s commencement.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College will celebrate the graduates of the class of 2024 during the institution’s 55th annual commencement exercises on Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m. MetLife Stadium. The College expects approximately 2,000 students will graduate with associate degrees and certificates this year, with more than 7,000 family, friends, faculty, staff and special guests in attendance at the stadium. The East Rutherford venue has hosted Bergen’s graduation ceremony for the past eight years.

Among the featured guests, student Shiwa Yangzom will serve as the class of 2024 valedictorian. As the top student in the class, Yangzom, of Fair Lawn, will deliver remarks during the ceremony. Yangzom, the co-president of the Judith K. Winn School of Honors Association, a peer tutor and academic coach, has earned New Jersey All-State Academic Team honors and will attend Johns Hopkins University this summer as an undergraduate researcher in their humanities laboratory. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics after graduating from Bergen.

Meanwhile, the Hon. Julien X. Neals, a federal judge serving the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, will address the graduating class as commencement’s keynote speaker. A native of Newark, Neals has worked in both the private and public sector, most recently serving as county counsel and acting county administrator in the County of Bergen. After six years in those positions, President Joe Biden nominated Neals for a vacant U.S. district judgeship in the District of New Jersey. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2021, Neals earned the distinction as the first federal judge seated during the Biden administration. District judges, spread throughout 94 federal courts in the U.S., hear criminal and civil cases authorized by the Constitution or statues.

Rounding out the featured guests, Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III and Bergen County Board of Commissioner Chair Germaine Ortiz will also offer remarks. Professor Lou Ethel Roliston, Ph.D., will open the event as the grand marshal before yielding to Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Andrew Tomko, Ph.D., who will serve as master of ceremonies. Student Cat Clayton, of Howell, will perform the national anthem, with Student Government Association President Kaylie Quezada, of Fort Lee, closing the ceremony and leading graduates in the ceremonial turning of their tassels.

Graduates include members of the College’s Turning Point Program for adults with intellectual disabilities, members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and even local high school students who have earned degrees through Bergen’s dual enrollment program.

The College will livestream the event beginning with a preshow at 9:45 a.m. on Bergen.edu and all of its official social media channels.

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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