Essex County College
|Colors||Green & Yellow|
In August 1966, the Board of Freeholders approved the creation of Essex County College and in September 1968, more than a year after the Newark riots, the college opened its doors to 3,400 students at 31 Clinton Street, Newark, NJ.
In early 1970, after the college celebrated its first commencement, graduating 214 students, it was decided that the new main campus would be built in what is today called the University Heights district. The groundbreaking of the "Megastructure" (now called the A. Zachary Yamba Building) began in June 1972 with the grand opening occurring a little under four years later in April 1976. During this time, in June 1974, the College was officially given its accreditation by the Middles States Association of College and Schools' Commission on Higher Education. The main campus would see expansions in October 1985 (with the opening of the Gymnasium and Child Development Center), in October 1996 (with the opening of the Center for Technology), and in September 1999 (with the opening of the Clara E. Dasher Student Center).
In January 1979, the West Essex Extension Center, a former elementary school, opened in West Caldwell, NJ. In 1982 an additional eight acres was purchased and, in September 1985, the newly expanded and renovated Center was unveiled. It would take another four years before the New Jersey State Department of Higher Education would grant the Center full branch campus status, transforming it into the West Essex Campus.
The FOCUS Center (which opened in September 1974) and the Ironbound Center (which opened in September 1979) are two extension centers, located in Newark, which offer off-campus educational services.
After the 2010 retirement of long-serving president Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, the college went through two separate presidencies in less than a handful of years which led to Yamba being brought back as an interim president in the spring of 2016. In November of that year the college was placed on warning by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for failing to comply with standards involving institutional resources and governance. That, along with a former athletic coach having been found to have stolen $150,000.00 of college funds, led to a decline in enrollment.
Dr. Anthony Munroe was hired by the college in May 2017 to succeed Yamba and help bring the institution back into compliance with the standards set by Middle States but internal issues, including the Board of Trustees rejecting several of the president's proposed appointees (including a Chief Financial Officer) led to the college being placed on probation. After a reshaping and reorganizing, Dr. Munroe and his administration were able to submit a monitoring report to Middle States on March 1, 2018, which led to a Small Team visit two weeks later where the Middle States representatives reported that the institution appeared to be in compliance with the standards for which it was placed on probation. That same month, the college laid off 20 full-time staff and eliminated 14 vacant positions in an effort to save money; like many community colleges, Essex County College has seen a significant (25% fewer compared to five years ago) decrease in enrollment. On July 2, 2018, in response to the college's actions and changes in its structure and governance, and based upon the recommendation from the Small Team's visit, Middle States reaffirmed the institution's accreditation.
- May 1966 - Robert McCabe (1st)
- January 1969 - Dr. Ellis White (2nd)
- May 1971 - J. Harry Smith (3rd, and first college president of color in the State of New Jersey)
- July 1978 - Dr. George Harris (4th)
- May 1980 - Dr. A. Zachary Yamba (5th)
- April 2010 - Dr. Edythe Abdullah (6th)
- March 2013 - Dr. Gale E. Gibson (interim)
- October 2013 - Dr. Gale E. Gibson (7th)
- March 2016 - Dr. A. Zachary Yamba (interim)
- May 2017 - Dr. Anthony Munroe (8th)
Essex County College offers A.A., A.S., and A.A.S. degree programs in more than 50 different majors. It also offers 26 academic certificate programs. Approximately 25,000 people enroll each year in the college's various degree and non-degree programs, including job training and enrichment programs. Day, evening, weekend, and online courses are offered throughout the fall, semester winter intercession, spring semester, two summer sessions. The college's academic offerings are split up into six distinct divisions and one separate department:
- Division of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
- Division of Business
- Division of Health Sciences
- Division of Humanities and Bilingual Studies
- Division of Mathematics, Engineering Technologies, and Computer Sciences
- Division of Social Sciences
- Department of Nursing
Essex County College's students represent over 50 different countries.
More Essex graduates transfer to Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Bloomfield College than any other two-year college in the state.
In the fall of 1982 Phi Theta Kappa was chartered.
Dozens of student organized and run clubs exist at the college, including the Short Films Club and the Future Teachers Club.
Over the last decade, over one dozen Essex graduates have received Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships, allowing them to attend a four-year institution partially, or entirely, for free.
Essex County College's athletic teams, dubbed the Wolverines, are represented in the Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and Region 19 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Men and women are able to participate in basketball, cross country, soccer, and track & field (indoor and outdoor). Essex athletes have gone on to become All-Americans. The college has also produced more than two dozen athletes who have competed at the Summer Olympics, representing various countries around the world.
- Steven Corbin (1953-1995), writer who was best known for his novel Fragments That Remain.
- Angelo Cruz (born 1958), former basketball player who played for the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team at the 1988 Summer Olympics and mysteriously disappeared in 1998.
- Jerry Gant, visual artist, poet, performance artist and educator.
- Ronald Rice (born 1945), Democratic Party politician who has served in the New Jersey State Senate since 1986, where he represents the 28th Legislative District.
- Kevin J. Ryan (born 1969) politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2011 to 2012, representing the 36th Legislative District.
- Frederick Scalera (born 1958), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2003 to 2011, representing the 36th Legislative District.
- Kenia Sinclair (born 1980), Jamaican-born track star who finished sixth at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 800m final.
- Aron Stewart (born 1950), former basketball player who went on to play for the University of Richmond, winning the 1973 Southern Conference Player of the Year award.
- David A. Berry - history professor who taught at the college for nearly 40 years, was Executive Director of the Community College Humanities Association for over 25 years, and is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton
- Dr. Clement Alexander Price - American historian who taught at the college in its first academic year before taking a position at Rutgers University-Newark where he was the founding director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, which now bears his name
- Dr. William J. Tooma (Billy Tooma) - award-nominated documentary filmmaker of Clarence Chamberlin: Fly First & Fight Afterward, Poetry of Witness, and The Black Eagle of Harlem who, since 2010, has taught English composition and literature courses
- Jennifer Wager - award-winning filmmaker of Venezuela Rising and Dare to Dream: Cuba's Latin American Medical School who, since 2008, has taught film, new media technology, and broadcast & production courses while coordinating the Communications Liberal Arts Option
- "Our Legacy: Essex County College". Essex County College.
- "New Jersey's Essex College faces probation". Retrieved 2018-03-22.
- "Good news for struggling N.J. college as accreditation hangs in the balance". NJ.com. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Karen Yi (March 21, 2018). "N.J. college cuts 34 jobs amid struggle to stay afloat". New Jersey On-Line. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
- Ltd., Info724. "Middle States Commission on Higher Education". www.msche.org. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
- Libman, Gary. "Novelist Describes Life of Harlem Renaissance", Albuquerque Journal, April 11, 1989. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Corbin's mother was a housewife. His father, who attended college, managed a supermarket. He has two brothers and attended Essex County College in Newark, NJ., before earning a scholarship to the University of Southern California's cinema-television school, where he stayed for two years before he ran out of money and left in 1977."
- Staff. "Original Old School: Missing The Point", Slam (magazine), August 9, 2010. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Due to academic eligibility issues, Cruz ended up spending time at Bethany Nazarene College in Oklahoma and Essex (NJ) County College."
- Selman, Carol. "Newark Visual, Performance Artist Jerry Gant: From Slave Ship to Mother Ship; Work by leading Newark-based artist on view now", Newark Patch, August 24, 2011. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Gant was born in Newark, grew up in a succession of Newark apartments — 'my mother Shirley was a gypsy;' lost his Dad young to alcohol and cirrhosis, graduated West Side High School and went to Essex County College to study graphic design — just as desktop publishing was coming in and decimating the print industry."
- Senator Ronald L. Rice (D), New Jersey Legislature. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Education: A.S. Essex County College (Police Science)"
- "Ryan Sworn In As Newest Member Of The General Assembly", Assembly Democrats, January 6, 2011. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Ryan, 41, is a graduate of Essex County College Police Academy and currently serves as an Undersheriff for the Essex County Sheriff's Office where he heads the Office of Emergency Management."
- Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey: 2004 Edition, p. 291. Lawyers Diary and Manual, LLC, 1900. ISBN 9781577411871. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Frederick Scalera, Dem., Nutley... He holds a fire code technology degree from Essex County College."
- Lambert, Jim. "Columbia track and field coach Lisa Morgan will be inducted into the Newark Hall of Fame", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, October 8, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Morgan was also the personal coach to Kenia Sinclair (the Essex County College and Seton Hall grad from Jamaica who was sixth in the 2008 Olympic Games 800-meter final)."
- "Faces in the Crowd", Sports Illustrated, May 24, 1971. Accessed February 18, 2018. "Aron Stewart, a sophomore at Essex County (N.J.) College, led the nation's junior college basketball players with 1,019 points and a 36.6 average."
- "In Person, 'Dave Who?' Goes to Washington". New York Times.
- "Bringing History Alive is a Labor of Love". Essex County College.
- "Newark International Film Festival". Newark International Film Festival.