Hudson County Community College Bids a Fond Farewell to Two Long-Serving Trustees

June 12, 2024

Chairman William J. Netchert and Vice Chair Bakari G. Lee transformed the College during nearly four decades of cumulative service.

June 12, 2024, Jersey City, NJ
– Hudson County Community College (HCCC) announced that two long-serving members of the Board of Trustees – William J. Netchert, Esq. and Bakari G. Lee, Esq. – are stepping back as their appointments on the Board have expired.

“Chairman Netchert and Vice Chair Lee devoted their adult lives to serving the people of Hudson County and the College. Hudson County Community College is a model for community colleges throughout the United States thanks to their leadership,” HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber stated. “They advanced the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, advocated accessible, high-quality higher education for all, helped grow the College physically and academically, promoted HCCC and community colleges as engines of upward economic mobility, and assisted in acquiring resources that enable record numbers of our neighbors in the community to attend HCCC and attain their higher education dreams.”


HCCC Board of Trustees Chair William J. Netchert, Esq., and Vice Chair Bakari G. Lee, Esq.

Outgoing Hudson County Community College Board of Trustees Chair William J. Netchert, Esq., and Vice Chair Bakari G. Lee, Esq.

William J. Netchert is a lifelong Jersey City resident who graduated Saint Peter’s Preparatory High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Peter’s College (now Saint Peter’s University) and his law degree from Fordham University. An attorney who has worked in private and public sectors and served on numerous boards, he received The Wall Street Journal Award for Excellence in Economics; 2015 Hudson County Chamber of Commerce Legends Award; 2018 HCCC Foundation Distinguished Service Award with his wife, Barbara; 2019 ACCT Regional Trustee Chair Leadership Award; and 2024 New Jersey Council of County Colleges Ronald D. WInthers Trustee Leadership Award, among others.

Mr. Netchert was appointed to the HCCC Board of Trustees in 2003, and elected chairman in 2005. Under his leadership, and in partnership with the College’s administration, he promoted the development of the “urban college campus” concept and, having chaired the Board’s Capital Projects Advisory Committee for many years, was vitally involved in securing the funding for the College’s $346.3 million expansion that included from-the-ground-up construction of the award-winning HCCC Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center and adjacent Culinary Plaza Park, North Hudson Campus, Gabert Library Building, STEM Building, Student Center, and the upcoming HCCC Center for Student Success, as well as the revitalization and repurposing of four other buildings.

In addition to helping create the College’s 21st Century learning environment, Mr. Netchert supported the College’s creation of robust Cultural Affairs, Foundation Art Collection, DEI exhibits, seminars, lectures, performing arts presentations, and myriad other events that are available free-of-charge to students and the community-at-large. Under his leadership, the College forged partnerships with and garnered the support of local, state, and national elected officials for grants and scholarships that directly benefit HCCC students and faculty. His affiliations also made it possible for the College  to partner with Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Eastern Millwork and other area corporations for mentoring, networking and internships.

Bakari G. Lee received his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He is a Member of the McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC Law Firm. He previously served as law clerk for the Honorable Darryl Dean Donahue of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, and as Senior Financial Analyst at Pfizer, Inc. Mr. Lee is active in numerous social and civic organizations, including the Morristown Neighborhood House Rites of Passage Program, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., where he has created a mentorship program for middle school African American boys in northern New Jersey. He served in various local, state, and national community college leadership roles including national Chairman of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Board of Directors, where he is also a Life Member. Mr. Lee was also Chair of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC), led the NJCCC Legislative Committee, and served as Trustee Ambassador with state and congressional delegations. He was recognized with the 2023 ACCT M. Dale Ensign National Trustee Leadership Award, the NJCCC 2023 Ronald D. Winthers Community College Trustee Leadership Award, and the 2015 Boy Scouts of America Whitney M. Young Service Award. Mr. Lee was also the commencement speaker for Atlantic Cape Community College in 2013, Bergen Community College in 2016, and Warren County Community College in 2017. He was awarded an Honorary Associate of Arts degree by Atlantic Cape Community College.

An education advocate who works diligently to ensure access to high quality higher education for all Americans, especially those in the African American, Latino and immigrant communities, Mr. Lee was appointed to the HCCC Board of Trustees in 2006. He served as Secretary/Treasurer from 2009 until he was elected Vice Chair in 2012. Mr. Lee was Chair of the HCCC Finance and Ethics Committees, and served on the Capital Projects Advisory, Presidential Search, Middle States, and Technology committees. He was an active and participating member of the HCCC President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (PACDEI), Trustee Liaison to the HCCC Foundation, and presenter at the 2022 HCCC Teaching and Learning Symposium on Social Justice in Higher Education. Mr. Lee interacted with HCCC students and faculty on numerous occasions, including delivering the keynote address at the College’s 2020 Kente Graduation and 2023 Juneteenth celebrations.

During Mr. Lee’s tenure as NJCCC Chair, the Council established the New Jersey Center for Student Success that is dedicated to college completion for the State’s community college students by strengthening student services and serving as a resource for best practices and innovation. Other accomplishments achieved during his tenure as NJCCC Board Chair include the implementation of the Big Idea Project, enhanced capital funding through the passage of the Building Our Future Bond Act, passage of legislation that preserves the Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS), and passage of legislation that provides in-county tuition for undocumented students.

“We are honored to have benefited from the extraordinary leadership, guidance, and support of William Netchert and Bakari Lee and are grateful for their dedication and for all they accomplished for our students and community over many years,” Dr. Reber said. “The entire HCCC family joins me in thanking them and wishing them good health, happiness and success in their futures. Hudson County Community College will forever be their home.”