Barbara Boyington, John Bukovec, and Joan Ali-Scocco were inducted into the pantheon of extraordinary Brookdalians on Friday, May 4, when they received the Alumni Association’s esteemed Barringer Award at The Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake.
The award, instituted in 1986 by the Brookdale Community College Alumni Association, is named in honor of Dr. B.A. Barringer, the college’s third president, in recognition of his commitment to educational excellence and his vigorous and enthusiastic support for the Alumni Association’s reorganization, both of which led to his becoming the first recipient of what is still considered, as Interim President David Stout stated, the colleges “most prestigious award.”
Lauren Concar, president of the Brookdale Community College Alumni Association, introduced Stout for the welcome address. “I am incredibly honored to be the person welcoming you because of the quality of those being honored tonight,” Stout said to attendees, which included faculty, staff, administrators, friends, and family of each recipient.
Boyington, professor of Business Management, was introduced by long-time colleague Pat Gallo, dean of the Business and Social Science Institute.
Gallo noted many of Boyington’s accomplishments including her roles as professor, department chair, role model to her colleagues and students, committee member, program and course developer, and assessment guru, the development of the college’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and her work with Middle States and the Small Business Development Center.
According to Gallo, Boyington has been referred to as “a gem, a pillar of Brookdale, and even a big sister,” by colleagues. “You have truly made Brookdale a better place since 1969 when Brookdale hired you to work on the farm,” Gallo said.
Boyington followed, and thanked the Association for the honor. She described the beginnings of the college, as she was hired to work on its official opening. “It was the impossible dream,” she shared, “that the founders had to build the college.”
“But it came down to the people,” she continued. “We were handed the impossible dream.” Boyington dedicated her award to these people, who she noted taught her, as a 19-year old, to be a team player, and showed her that this impossible dream was not the buildings, but the people.
Dr. Carl Calendar, dean of Humanities, introduced Bukovec, professor of Theater and the next honoree.
Calendar said that Bukovec created the successful, bustling Theater Department we know today referred to him as “one of the new pillars of Brookdale Community College.” He shared many of Bukovec’s successes, including his work on “Outdoor Shakespeare,” and the collaborations with visiting directors. “It is not easy to put on Shakespeare’s plays,” he noted, “you don’t build one and walk away; you build a community.” Bukovec did just that with students, who continue to put on The Bard’s plays yearly, even difficult ones like Titus Andronicus, which Calendar said was brilliantly recreated. “We are so lucky to have him,” Calendar noted, “and he is so deserving of this award.”
After being invited by Calendar to “come up here and tell your story,” Bukovec graciously congratulated the other recipients then dedicated the award to his students. “I don’t look for accolades or awards,” he shared, “it is about my department and my students. My department is the [Performing Arts Center] and the theater; we are symbiotic.”
Debbie Almeida, manager of Accounts Payable, and Ann Marie Alfieri, confidential administrative assistant in the Office of HECs and K16, introduced the next honoree Ali-Scocco, director of Operations in the office of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Almeida stated “Joan is the type of person that just figures out how to get it done,” while Alfieri pointed out that even when they barely knew each other, “Joan worked tirelessly to make sure I had a job at Brookdale Community College,” after a major reorganization.
They went on to share that they saw Ali-Scocco, who also served as chair of the Standard 7 Committee of the Middle States reaccreditation, as “captain of the ship,” and “though that ship was rocky,” Ali-Scocco remained “poised, and sincere.” “The Girls of Standard 7,” as they affectionately call themselves, poked fun at Ali-Scocco’s “unique way with the English language,” reflecting on what they termed “Joanisms… that make you think, then laugh, then think again.”
Ali-Scocco thanked the Alumni Association, and everyone she has collaborated with to lead her to “share the award with community college rock stars like Barbara and John.” She reminded the crowd that what “makes the Barringer Award so prestigious is that it is presented by alumni.”
Ali-Scocco, who is currently working on a doctoral degree, joked that she recently took on a new heritage project, and when she received her DNA results, discovered that she was “100% Brookdalian.” She shared that the college has provided great opportunities and success for her and her children, and shared the path that led to her “second career” at the college.
Ali-Scocco recognized her first student, Lisa Savage, now an Associate in the Office of Continuing and Professional Studies, for her work in speech class, which prompted Dr. Burnham to attend class solely to hear Savage’s ideas, which inspired branch campus renovations. Ali-Scocco also thanked Marie Lucier-Woodruff, associate vice president of Continuing and Professional Studies, and sixth President of Brookdale Community College, Maureen Murphy, for giving her a chance and recognizing her potential, respectively, all of which led to her working towards a doctoral degree. Ali-Scocco shared the award with her “co-workers in CPS, Standard 7 Middle States Committee, those who have mentored me and reached out a hand to help to lift me up,” because, as she repeated the beginning of her speech, “we at community colleges, we do very, very important work, but we don’t do this work alone.”
Check out more photos of the 33rd annual Barringer Award Dinner here.
Story written by Dara Evans