Student Honored for Academic Excellence and Volunteerism at Berkeley College Commencement Ceremony

, 2014

Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
201-291-1111, ext. 1-5122



Sharla Natasha Hanley of Manhattan, NY, received the 2014 Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award at the Berkeley College Commencement ceremony held Friday, April 25, at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ. This year’s graduating class is the largest in the history of Berkeley College with more than 2,300 students from Berkeley College locations in New York and New Jersey and Berkeley College Online® receiving Bachelor’s and Associate’s degrees and certificates.

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. Students are nominated for the award by Berkeley College faculty and staff.

“The highest honor bestowed upon a Berkeley College graduate is the Robert Maher Award,” said Dallas Reed, PhD, Berkeley College Vice President, Student Development and Campus Life. “Sharla personifies what defines our students – the perseverance to succeed in graduating with an exceptional academic record against all odds. She embraced the full college experience while coping with the loss of her daughter, Elizabeth, who passed away due to leukemia.”

Dr. Reed added that despite personal struggles, Ms. Hanley put forth tremendous effort in assisting other students and staff, and embraced the Berkeley College value of community service.

Ms. Hanley was born in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and raised in St. Thomas. Her family came to live in the United States when she was 12 years old. While attending Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan, Ms. Hanley served as an executive member of the Campus Activities Board, participated in new student orientation, student programming, and leadership retreats and activities. Through the Berkeley Cares program she logged more hours of community service than any other New York City student.

“I would love to leave behind a legacy of helping others as I graduate from Berkeley College,” said Ms. Hanley, whose long-term goal is to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Berkeley College provides traditional and online degree options and blended learning opportunities to prepare students for careers in some of today’s most in-demand professions. Berkeley College was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 2014 Best Colleges in the Online Bachelor Degree category. Students at Berkeley College benefit from a supportive, flexible, diverse learning environment that connects them with workplace experience in their areas of study before graduation.

A leader in providing career-focused education for more than 80 years, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,000 students — including more than 900 international students — in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. The College has three New York locations — Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are six locations — Woodland Park, Paramus, Woodbridge, Newark, Clifton and Dover. Berkeley College Online® also offers full degree programs. Programs are offered in more than 20 career fields. The website address is

Photo Caption: Berkeley College honored Sharla Natasha Hanley of Manhattan, NY, with the 2014 Robert Maher Outstanding Student Award during the Commencement ceremony Friday, April 25, at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Left to right are Dario A. Cortes, PhD, President of Berkeley College; Dallas Reed, PhD, Berkeley College Vice President, Student Development and Campus Life; Ms. Hanley and Kevin Luing, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Berkeley College.

To view a high-resolution version of this photo, visit





Recent Releases

Sep 21, 2018 12:18:00 PM

Ashante Barnes Connor of Berkeley College Named Co-chair of Title IX in New Jersey

Berkeley College recognized the work of Ashante Barnes Connor.
Sep 20, 2018 8:42:00 AM

Berkeley College Hosts Pat Hedley, Author of "Meet 100 People"

Author Pat Hedley will speak at Berkeley College on October 13.
Sep 18, 2018 6:50:00 AM

High School Pursuit of Social Justice Pays Off as Berkeley College Honors Student Advocates Activism

Oslene Johnson, a second-year Marketing Communications major at Berkeley College, has stayed in touch with a handful of her ...