Essex County College
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Essex County College
Essex County College
Type Public College
Established 1966
Location Newark, New Jersey, USA
Colors Green & Yellow          
Nickname Wolverines
Newark Campus view from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Essex County College (ECC) is an open-door, public two-year college located in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. Although regionally accredited, the college was placed on warning status in November of 2016 and probation the following year due to concerns about institutions resources and leadership.


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.

In December 1998, operations began at the Public Safety Academy in Cedar Grove, NJ.[1]

Beginning around 2012, the institution experienced many public issues that culminated in threats to its accreditation that could result in the college losing access to federal financial aid and subsequently closing. In 2010, longtime president A. Zachary Yamba retired after serving as president of Essex for 30 years. His successor was fired by the board of trustees in 2016 and the board has rejected several of the new president's hires, including the prospective hire for the college's Chief Financial Officer. A former track coach was indicted for stealing $150,000 from the college and enrollment has dropped significantly.[2]

Timeline of College Presidents

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)

Education offered

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 programs are overseen by the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer. Several deans and chairpersons work under this vice president. 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

Student life

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.

Notable alumni

Angelo Cruz - a former basketball player who went on to play for the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team at the 1988 Summer Olympics; he mysteriously disappeared in 1998

Ronald L. Rice - an American Democratic Party politician who has served in the New Jersey State Senate since 1986, where he represents the 28th Legislative District

Kenia Sinclair - a Jamaican-born track star who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics 800m final

Aron Stewart - an American former basketball player who went on to play for the University of Richmond, winning the 1973 Southern Conference Player of the Year award


Notable faculty at Essex include:

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[3]

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[4]

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[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Our Legacy: Essex County College". Essex County College. 
  2. ^ Ashley A. Smith (December 18, 2017). "Infighting and Turmoil in N.J". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2017. 
  3. ^ "In Person, 'Dave Who?' Goes to Washington". New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Bringing History Alive is a Labor of Love". Essex County College. 
  5. ^ "Newark International Film Festival". Newark International Film Festival. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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