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U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is CCC's 2012 Commencement Speaker


A federal legislator who began his public service in education will deliver the keynote address during this year’s Camden County College graduation ceremony. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., will address the Class of 2012 during the 44th annual commencement exercises on May 19.


Approximately 1,500 associate degrees and academic certificates will be conferred during the ceremony. The event will begin at 10 a.m. in the Truman Courtyard, which is located on CCC’s Blackwood Campus at College Drive and Peter Cheeseman Road in Gloucester Township.

Like many CCC students, Menendez is a public-school alumnus and a first-generation college graduate. He also is a first-generation American, born shortly after his parents emigrated from Cuba.


He is one of only two Latinos currently serving in the United States Senate and is the sixth of only seven Latino senators in U.S. history. His 2009 book, Growing American Roots: Why Our Nation Will Thrive as Our Largest Minority Flourishes, examines the Latino influence in the United States.


Menendez has been a senator since 2006, when he was appointed to serve the remainder of Jon Corzine’s term when Corzine became governor of New Jersey. Later that year, Menendez was elected to the full, six-year term he is now serving.


Before his appointment, Mendendez was a member of the United States House of Representatives for 14 years. He previously served in the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly, as mayor of Union City and on the Union City Board of Education.

His election to his hometown school board took place in 1974, when he was a 20-year-old college student. It followed a petition drive to reform the board that he had launched the year before.


Among the causes Menendez has championed have been improving schools to prepare children for successful futures, making college more affordable and helping families overcome the challenges of autism. He also has worked to educate children about Internet safety and help keep youths whose families face foreclosure remain in their current schools. His efforts have been honored with awards from the New Jersey County of County Colleges, the Hispanic Organization of Students in Technology/Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Jump Start: Financial Smarts for Students.


Menendez holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Peter’s College and a juris doctor degree from Rutgers University.

Published: April 23, 2012