A. Zachary Yamba honored by Essex County College

At a ceremony attended by faculty, former faculty, students, former students of Essex County College at Newark, NJ and a cross section of society, the President-Emeritus of New Jersey’s largest county college, A. Zachary Yamba was immortalized with the naming of the college’s superstructure after him. In her opening remarks, the interim president of the college, Dr. Gale Gibson said the dedication was long overdue and well-deserved.

Ghana’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Ken Kanda was represented by the Press Attache at the Ghana Mission in New York Harry Reynolds who described Dr. Yamba as a proud son of Ghana who has paid his dues and continues to work for his adopted country and his native Ghana even in retirement. He advised his former students and colleagues to continue to consult him. Essex County Executive Hon. Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. described Essex County College as the best county college in New Jersey and Yamba the best President ECC has had. “Zac claimed he wasn’t a politician, but he is the best politician I have ever known,” the county executive jokingly remarked.

A former student and a member of the class of 2007 Bertheleau Ngakam also described Dr. Yamba as a man with a genuine heart. He said that his first impression with the former president made an indelible impression on him. “Yamba is a man with great love for his students and helped many of them solve their problems,” Ngakam said. He said that he witnessed with pride and respect his fellow presidents had for him when he accompanied him to a conference of college presidents.

On his part, former chair of the Board of Trustees of the college’s board of trustees, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson stressed Dr. Yamba’s humility. He said “thinking of ECC is thinking about Zac Yamba. He disproved cynics to become the longest serving president of a college in New Jersey, set new standards and established excellence among is students and faculty.”

Professor Michael Frank said Zac Yamba was different from other presidents he had known. ECC has always been described as Zac’s place. ECC is about transforming lives. “Zac founded a family, showed courage, humility and perseverance. This is the house that Zac built,” he commented.

Current chair of ECC Board of Trustees Calvin W. Souder, an ex-student and the youngest chair of the board described ECC as the Harvard and Yale of community colleges in the country. The college has more champions in the various sports than every college in the US. Thanks to Zac Yamba 25,000 enroll at ECC every year. He added that Yamba cares more for the community that he served.

Dr. Yamba expressed his gratitude to his former colleagues and mentioned the support he received from the Ghana Mission. He articulated his pride for his students for their insistence on the best and described the honor done him as the pinnacle of every accolade he had received. “I am overwhelmed that I have been so honored as I live,” he said. He said he shared the tribute with many who conceived the idea of ECC. From a college spread all over Newark, the pioneers ventured to build it in the center of the city to make higher education affordable and accessible to many. He paid tribute to trustees who have passed away to whom ECC will always remain an asset. He was full of gratitude to his family.

In her closing remarks Interim President Gale Gibson said that Zac Yamba has always been a mentor and would want his legacy to be the foundation of her legacy.

The event was followed by refreshments in the superstructure.

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Posted by on Sep 16 2013. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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