Joseph T. Vitale, executive director of College Advancement and Planning, and president of the foundation at County College of Morris (CCM), has been chosen to receive the Community College Spirit Award by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC). Since its inauguration in 1993, the Community College Spirit Award has been an honor bestowed to those who embody the community college spirit – perseverance, dedication and excellence.
Vitale, of Denville, will receive the award along with four other individuals at the council’s meeting on June 17 at the Marriott Hotel in Trenton. He is being recognized in part for his work in helping to gain support for the $750-million Building Our Future Bond Act, which will provide $200 million for construction at the state’s 19 community colleges, as well as funding for public and private four-year colleges and universities. CCM is currently scheduled to receive $10 million to expand its Music Technology Building and upgrade its mechanical and electrical engineering labs.
“We are honored to recognize Mr. Joseph Vitale of the County College of Morris for his statewide contributions to the Building Our Future Bond referendum last fall,” said NJCCC President Dr. Lawrence A. Nespoli. “Joe’s dedication led to an overwhelming number of voters throughout the state voting in favor of this issue back in November. This support from the voters means that $200 million in capital funding will be made available to our community colleges to expand and renovate facilities so that we may continue to provide outstanding academic programs to students at an affordable cost.”
CCM employees have now been selected for Community College Spirit Awards in three consecutive years. Last year, Sheri Ventura, coordinator of distance learning services, was honored. In 2011, Dr. Dwight Smith, vice president of Academic Affairs, won the award.
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges provides leadership for the advancement of New Jersey’s community colleges and performs sector coordination. Among the programs supported by the council is the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJ STARS), the nation’s first state-sponsored program designed for community college students. Scholarships received through NJ STARS cover tuition and approved fees.
“I’m very honored to be receiving NJCCC’s Community College Spirit Award,” said Vitale. “All of us working in New Jersey’s community colleges appreciate the fine work done by the organization in promoting and advocating for the vital role community colleges play in our state’s higher education system. I welcomed the opportunity last fall to play a small part in the successful passage of the Building Our Future bond act. The funds the voters approved will enhance not only the facilities but the educational experience for college students throughout the state.”