County of Monmouth

For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2017
Freeholders Board Recognized for Role in Founding Brookdale Community College

FREEHOLD, NJ – On Friday, June 9, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders was presented with a Founders Award at the Brookdale Community College Foundation’s Scholarship Ball at Eagle Oaks Golf Course, in Farmingdale.

The Board of Chosen Freeholders was recognized with the Founder's Award at the Brookdale Community College Jubilee Celebration.“The 2017 Freeholder Board is honored to be recognized and to carry-on the work of the men and women elected to the board before us,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “We thank Joe Irwin, Gene Bedell, Ben Danskin, Marcus Daly and Harry Larrison, Jr. for seeing the benefit of a two-year post-secondary educational institution. Securing the land and making the financial commitment to get the college started were great first steps; we are proud to continue this fine tradition.”

Members of the freeholder board were in attendance at the Brookdale Jubilee celebration to recognize the first 50 years of success and achievement for the post-secondary institution located in Lincroft.

“On July 18, 1967, the Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution to establish an independent, two- year, public college,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley, a Brookdale graduate and the current freeholder liaison to the school. “I believe that every freeholder who has served this County over the past 50 years understands and appreciates all the work that has gone into planning, managing, and operating this educational institution. This board is equally committed to ensuring that Brookdale continues as an important and vibrant part of Monmouth County.”

Nationally, interest in establishing two-year community colleges began to grow in the 1950s. The NJ Legislature enacted a “County College Bill” in July 1962; it became effective in 1963.

“The Board of Freeholders began to study the idea of a community college in 1963,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “After significant discussion and an outpouring of support from the community, the Freeholders committed to establishing an independent, two- year public college to offer basic technical education. Their motivation was in anticipation of a serious and increasing need for technical workers along with an interest in providing a quality education program and cultural activities.”

The freeholders appointed the first trustees on October 3, 1967. The nine trustees were local leaders in education, business, and labor. Each brought strength and passion for the college and for is success in its fledgling years. In the ensuing decades, Brookdale trustees have worked to provide a quality post-secondary education for adult learners.

“Since its inception, the College has dedicated itself to equal opportunity for all,” said Freeholder Gary J. Rich, Sr. “There is an energetic campus community and students are encouraged to participate in the many campus events, clubs, guest lectures and athletic programs. Brookdale also has a long history of athletic excellence – baseball, softball and basketball come readily to mind. Our teams make us proud every time they take the field or the court.”

“A Brookdale education is a personalized education,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso, Esq. “Depending on a student’s needs or interests, he or she can enroll and earn a certificate or a diploma. And while hands-on technical trainings may be suitable for some learners, other students can take advantage of affordable first and second year college courses as day or evening students.”

The Brookdale campus is located next to the County’s Thompson Park. Thompson Park was previously the estate of the Lewis and Geraldine Thompson and was named Brookdale Farm.

The Brookdale Farm location was selected as the location for Brookdale because of some fortuitous thinking by Freeholder Ben Danskin and County Planning Director Charles Pike. The two county leaders had toured Brookdale Farm following Geraldine Thompson’s announcement to leave her estate to the county for use as a park. The adjacent section of the property was part of Geraldine’s son’s estate and county took an option to buy Brookdale Farm with no specific idea for its use at the time.

The freeholders provided $725,000 to finance the purchase 221-acres of Brookdale Farm.

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