Hudson County Community College Foundation Held Its 20th Annual Holiday Gala Celebration on December 7

December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017, Jersey City, NJ – The Board of Directors of the Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Foundation hosted the Annual Holiday Gala on Thursday, December 7. The event was held in the College’s Culinary Conference Center – 161 Newkirk Street in Jersey City. Proceeds from the event, which raised $186,500, will provide scholarships for deserving students.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the fundraiser, and the theme was “An Evening in Italy: A Gala Dining Experience.” As they arrived, guests were presented with a “passport” to guide them through the exquisite cuisine offered in the program kitchens of the College’s Culinary Arts Institute (CAI). Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts representing the various regions of Italy – Venice, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Piedmont, Lazio (Rome), and Campania – which were served in six different rooms . All of the delicious cuisine was prepared by the College’s Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) chefs/instructors and students, and served by CAI students.

One of the evening’s primary highlights was the presentation of the Hudson County Community College 2017 Distinguished Community Service Award to Jeanne Cretella, President – and with her husband Frank, Co-Owner – of Landmark Hospitality. Landmark owns and manages several distinguished venues, many of which are historic, landmark sites. These include The Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City; Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ; the famed Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station, NJ; Hotel Du Village in New Hope, PA; The Logan Inn in New Hope, PA; and Landmark Destination Weddings. An off-premise catering division, Crave, operates on-site at venues such as The Boathouse at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ, Mana Contemporary Café in Jersey City, and the Prallsville Mills in Stockton, NJ; Crave specializes in running events throughout the tri-state area.

Believing strongly in the importance of embracing the communities where Landmark does business, Ms. Cretella established a corporate giving program, “Help Us Give” (H.U.G.) in 2001.  Through H.U.G., she and Landmark Hospitality have hosted ongoing community events to aid local organizations. The efforts of H.U.G. have been recognized by American Express and the National Restaurant Association. In addition, The Liberty House was awarded the “Good Neighbor Award” for the State of New Jersey, the Governor’s Diamond Award on Tourism, and Ms. Cretella received the Gold Plate Award for outstanding service in the industry and community from the New Jersey Restaurant Association. 

Ms. Cretella serves as a director of the Hudson County Community College Foundation Board, the Sandra and Glen Cunningham Foundation, and Dress for Success. She is also a member of Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham’s Women’s Advisory Group, and is the first two-year Chair of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association. As one who believes in education being a key tool for future success, Ms. Cretella has devoted much of her time to working with schools around the state dedicated to students with autism. She has successfully spearheaded partnerships with restaurants to provide students with disabilities with real work experiences.

The Hudson County Community College Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation giving tax-exempt status to contributors. Since the Foundation was established in 1997, it has provided over $2,650,000 in scholarships. The HCCC Foundation also established the Foundation Art Collection ten years ago to coincide with the initiation of the College’s Fine Arts studies program. Presently, the Collection includes over 1,000 paintings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, and other works by nationally acclaimed artists which are displayed throughout all the buildings on the College’s Journal Square and North Hudson Campuses.