PARAMUS, N.J. – Carol Otis, chair of the Bergen Community College board of trustees, passed away July 15. Otis, 79, served as a trustee during terms from 2007 to 2012 and again from 2016 to the present, leading the board as chair from March 2017 until her passing. She also represented the trustees on the Bergen Community College Foundation board of directors.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Chair Carol Otis,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “Carol left an indelible mark on the institution, championing the needs of students, faculty, staff and the greater Bergen County community. To the day of her passing, Carol worked tirelessly to advocate for the institution, dedicating significant time to the College, frequently attending events, meetings and other on-campus activities. Carol took great pride in her role as a trustee, and even greater pride in representing Bergen Community College. Her unparalleled commitment serves as a model for community service.”
Otis, of Teaneck, joined the trustee board after a 33-year career as a family and consumer sciences teacher in the Teaneck Public Schools district. As a classroom educator, Otis became a leading voice in the field, publishing the New Jersey Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Advisers’ Handbook, co-editing the textbook “World of Food” and winning the National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Distinguished Service Award. She also served as treasurer and membership chair of the Educators of Family and Consumer Sciences-New Jersey chapter, maintained numerous leadership roles within the Bergen County Education Association and New Jersey Education Association and additional positions within the Association of Community College Trustees.
Outside of the classroom and College, Otis remained active in her hometown of Teaneck, contributing her time and resources to supporting causes that increased access to education and provided advancement opportunities for young people. Among them, for 35 years, she served as chair of the Community Scholarship Fund of Teaneck. Otis received numerous honors recognizing her selflessness, including the educator of the year award from the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor Lizette Parker Civic Achievement Award from the Cedar Lane Management Group and, most recently, the Matthew Feldman Award for volunteer community service from Township of Teaneck.
She graduated from Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University (B.S.) and the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (M.Ed.). She earned post-graduate credits from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Jersey City State University and Rutgers.
Otis is survived by her husband of 57 years, Donald, three children and three grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, Otis’ family has asked donations be made to the Bergen Community College Foundation, 400 Paramus Road, Room A-325, Paramus, New Jersey 07652 or Bergen.edu/give.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
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