Alumni of the Year
Middlesex County College (NJ) honored one of its own at the 43rd annual Scholarship Gala. James Cahill, class of 1972, has been mayor of the city of New Brunswick since 1991. He was named Alumnus of the Year for Business, Professional and Community Achievements.
“Middlesex County College’s slogan is ‘Success Starts Here,’” Mayor Cahill said in his acceptance speech. “That’s certainly true in my case.”
During his tenure, New Brunswick has seen tremendous growth and investment that has transformed the city into a thriving urban center.
The gala, held March 2, focused on the City of New Brunswick. Other honorees included Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, a national leader in health care, and New Brunswick Tomorrow, a nonprofit that promotes self-sufficiency and economic upward mobility among low-income youth and families.
Paul Lazaro Class of 2011 was presented the Recent Alumnus of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the Alumni Association in June. The award honors a graduate from the past 10 years for achievement. After attaining two degrees from MCC while serving actively in the military, Paul has continued to serve the MCC community through his tireless dedication in the College’s Veterans Service Office. Paul has been a member of the NJ Army Nation al guard for 10 years and volunteers in his local community frequently. He is a two time combat veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart.
Douglas Wilson, a longtime member of the Middlesex County College Alumni Association Board of Trustees, has been named Alumnus of the Year for Service to the College and the Association. A 1993 graduate, Wilson has maintained his allegiance to MCC since graduation. He has served as secretary of the Alumni board, and has been an enthusiastic booster of the College and its graduates.
Wilson initiated and spearheaded the Association’s most successful fundraiser to date: An Evening of Good Taste for the Educated Palate. This annual event brings 25 local restaurants to campus to offer samples of their best dishes to members of the public who purchase tickets. The funds have gone to the MCC Alumni Scholarship program, which now distributes three $500 scholarships to deserving students.
“Doug has been invaluable to our Alumni Association,” said Albert Gomolka Jr.’71, the acting president. “He has been consistent in his support for the College and our efforts and was instrumental in developing our restaurant tasting fundraising program. I’m thrilled that he was the unanimous choice for Alumnus of the Year.”
The award was presented at Celebration Day in May, an annual event at MCC that honors employees for service anniversaries, Outstanding Service to the College award winners, as well as the Alumnus of the Year.
“It is truly an honor to stand before you and be recognized for contributions to the College community,” Wilson said as he accepted the award. “It has been a long and pleasant relationship, one that has molded me as a person and as a professional. Over the years, I have observed as more classroom space, computer labs, and other resources were built and dedicated. Growth is wonderful to watch. And at Middlesex, personal and professional growth is wonderful to experience.”
Wilson graduated with honors from the Dietetics Technology program and has worked in the food service industry ever since, in nursing homes, senior residences and rehabilitation centers, day camps and schools. He has also owned his own catering company, Cutting Board Caterers and Deli. He also participates in numerous community service activities aside from the Alumni Association, including the Asbury Park Film Festival, St. George Food Pantry in Helmetta, and the Light of Day Parkinson’s Disease fundraiser in Asbury Park. He explained how MCC shaped his interest in community service.
“Part of my coursework included an externship with a community service component,” he said. “Our group volunteered at a senior center, Elijah’s Promise in New Brunswick, and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, to name just a few. These were critical experiences that inspired my personal growth and commitment to community – and very importantly, giving back to that community. It was planted, rooted, cultivated and inspired by my time at MCC.”