Berkeley College New Jersey Outstanding Student Award Recipient Proves He Controls His Own Destiny


THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2009

Contact:  Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
201-291-1111, ext. 5122


Berkeley College recently honored the achievements of Mohammed Duqmaq of Paterson, NJ, by presenting him with the New Jersey Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award for 2009. Mr. Duqmaq, who completed his Bachelor of Science degree in business management, received the award during the Berkeley College Commencement Ceremony held at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ, on Friday, April 24.
The Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award is presented annually to a member of the graduating class who has met high standards of academic excellence while overcoming personal, professional, or financial obstacles. Student recommendations come from faculty and staff with the final decision made by the Office of Student Development and Campus Life.
“The highest honor bestowed upon a Berkeley College graduate is The Robert Maher Award,” said Ed Hughes, EdD, Berkeley College Dean, Student Development and Campus Life, New Jersey. “Each year a committee of faculty and administrators chooses a recipient who understands the value of education and demonstrates the tenacity and persistence to improve under difficult circumstances. Mohammed took control of his destiny and has become someone who not only respects others, but who others deeply respect.”
Mr. Duqmaq’s path to Berkeley College was full of personal challenges.
His family moved often during his high school career — first from New York to South Jersey and later to North Jersey. These frequent, unsettling changes left Mr. Duqmaq searching for an identity. He had difficulty making friends and engaging positively with his new environments.
A teacher at Hawthorne High School, Ms. Patricia Atkinson-Battista, encouraged Mr. Duqmaq to become a constructive and active participant in his educational community, and to discover who he was through helping others. “It’s never too late to be who you might have been,” she quoted George Elliot to him.
From that point, and with the support of his mother, Mona, Mr. Duqmaq said his attitude shifted.
“I became more responsible, I become more reliable, I took responsibility for my actions,” said Mr. Duqmaq. “I know my mom wanted to see me graduate from high school, and I wanted to achieve things. It’s never too late to change.”
Mr. Duqmaq began to think about college, but realized his change of attitude may have come too late, as most high school seniors had already submitted their college applications. He was relieved when Berkeley College gave him the opportunity to achieve his dreams.
At Berkeley College, Mr. Duqmaq flourished. He joined the Berkeley College Bulldogs basketball team, which he captained his senior year. He decided to make a difference in the lives of others by volunteering for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He also served as co-chair of publicity for the Student Government Association, Garret Mountain Campus, and became SGA President last year. In addition to his commitment to Berkeley College, Mr. Duqmaq also found time to hold a part time job at a Hawthorne restaurant.
Mr. Duqmaq is confident his bright future is only beginning, saying he hopes to own his own electronics business or get a job with a Fortune 500 company in the near future.
A leader in business education for 78 years, Berkeley College maintains an enrollment of over 7,200 students, with more than 700 international students in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree programs. The College has two New York campuses in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, an Extension Center in Lower Manhattan in the Wall Street area, and four New Jersey campuses located in Woodland Park (formerly West Paterson), Paramus, Woodbridge, and Newark. In addition, the College offers Berkeley College Online and its Corporate Learning Partnership program. All campuses are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The College’s website address is

Photo Caption: Berkeley College President Dario A. Cortes, PhD, (left) and Ed Hughes, EdD, Berkeley College Dean, Student Development and Campus Life, New Jersey, present Mohammed Duqmaq of Paterson, NJ, with the New Jersey Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award at the Berkeley College Commencement Ceremony, held April 24 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ.

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