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2024 Ocean County College Scholarship Celebration

Date: Friday, June 28, 2024
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Tented Outdoors on the OCC Campus Mall

Mark your calendars and save the date for an unforgettable evening of festivity at our upcoming Scholarship Celebration, where we’ll honor excellence and support the pursuit of education.

This year’s Annual Scholarship Celebration promises to be an exceptional event, honoring:


Lincoln A. Simmons, College Lecturer II
For tremendous contributions to the academic programs at OCC and pivotal leadership roles on College-wide committees

Lincoln A. Simmons, College Lecturer II in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is an accomplished environmental leader with over thirty years of technical and management responsibility involving environmental sustainability, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, environmental site assessments, and indoor air quality. Before coming to OCC, Professor Simmons built and owned several companies, each generating revenue of between 5 and 15 million dollars. The companies were environmental consulting, a green holiday resort, and a construction management firm.

A dynamic and collaborative executive leader, Professor Simmons has steered the development of environmental management programs for Fortune 500 clients and led environmental projects from concept to completion while managing teams, client relations and financial viability. His expertise in the fields of business management and environmental science has earned him numerous accolades, as well as recognition from peers and experts in the industry. More importantly, his work has had a tangible, positive impact on the students of Ocean County College.

Professor Simmons joined Ocean County College in 2018 as an adjunct professor of biology and became a College Lecturer II in August 2019. At OCC, he developed a new Industrial Hygiene/Hazardous Materials Management and Sustainability program and worked with Kean University to establish an articulation agreement that integrates the program with Kean’s B.S. in Sustainability. Through this program, students can earn the certificate, enter the job market, and complete their associate and bachelor’s degrees while being employed. The first cohort of graduates of the IH-HMM certificate found employment at salaries above $60,000.00 annually.

In 2023, Professor Simmons spearheaded the college’s first Environmental Science Technical Conference, bringing together students and representatives from the environmental industry for networking and educational opportunities. The conference, now an annual event at OCC, was a huge success.

Professor Simmons co-chairs the college’s environmental management advisory committee and serves as a member of the College Senate and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. He also serves as an advisor to OCC’s Environmental Club, a student club dedicated to environmental education, awareness, and action.

Professor Simmons holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from City College, City University of New York, a master of business administration from Capella University, and a master of science in Environmental Science from Drexel University.

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Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Athletics
For enthusiastic leadership and advocacy for the advancement of our student-athletes

Ilene Cohen is a 22-year employee of Ocean County College, where she currently holds the position of Executive Director of Athletics. Born and raised in New Jersey, Ilene was always passionate about what she did, specifically in sports, from an early age, first as an athlete and then as a coach and administrator. An elite softball player, Ilene was enshrined in both the Union High School and Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) Halls of Fame softball and entered the coaching ranks in 1990 at Middlesex College. She then became the assistant athletic director at Middlesex a year later, a position she held for 10 years before arriving at Ocean County College in 2001.

As an athletic administrator, Ilene believes that OCC employees are here to assist students on their path to the future. In athletics, she follows the “student first/athlete second” principle. She believes in the importance of guiding students toward earning academic achievements while having fun earning athletic accomplishments, individually and as a team member. To that end, along with Ilene’s lofty athletic achievements, she has also earned recognition for her work with students outside of their respective fields of play. In 2011 Ilene was an Honor of the Year Award recipient by National Girls and Women in Sports Day, in recognition of her contributions to the achievements of women in sports in NJ. In 2015, she received the Garden State Award from the College Athletic Administrators of NJ (CAANJ) for her commitment to collegiate athletics. In 2019, Ilene was honored by the EOF department here at OCC by receiving their Champion Award in recognition of her unwavering support of EOF students and staff. Additionally, Ilene received the 2023 Augie Eosso Award from Region 19 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Presented annually to an individual who exemplifies and demonstrates commitment to Region 19 Athletics, this award is considered the most prestigious honor that is offered by the Region. Most recently, Ilene received an honor that she holds close to her heart when she was asked by OCC President Dr. Pamela Monaco to speak at her inauguration.

Serving Ocean County College’s students is a treasured part of Ilene’s life. Working in tandem with the OCC Foundation, she served as host to a campus speaking engagement with women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm and is currently on the planning committee to bring a 5K to campus in 2024, in addition to her long-time commitment to the foundation golf outing committee. One day, you may find her wearing a Viking costume on campus, while on another, you might spot her riding the OCC float in the Toms River Halloween Parade. Whenever there is a call to assist in improving the college experience for our students, Ilene has been and will be there for the Vikings of Ocean County College.

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The Citta Foundation
For their most generous commitment to our Legacy Campaign and longstanding support of our Foundation, College, and the Ocean County Community.

Joseph A. Citta and Lillian R. Citta were the founders and donors of The Citta Foundation, Inc., which was formed in 1986.

The Citta Foundation is dedicated to Joseph Citta’s father, James Citta, his mother, Rose Citta and his deceased brother J. Phillip Citta who lost his life in World War II. They were all an inspiration to him and motivated many of his special projects in addition to his legal career.

The mission of The Citta Foundation is to make annual donations to local charitable and educational organizations.

Joseph and Regina Citta’s grandchildren now carry on the mission of The Citta Foundation in their memory.

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