On June 20, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges presented the Ronald D. Winthers Community College Trustee Leadership Award to Union County College Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Richel for his dedicated service to New Jersey’s 19 community colleges.
“This award is an honor bestowed on a single New Jersey community college trustee each year,” said NJCCC Chair Helen Albright. “The award was established in honor of long-time Burlington County College Trustee Ronald D. Winthers, and it was created to recognize visionary leadership by a New Jersey community college trustee at the local, state and national levels.”
Richel has been a member of the Union County College Board of Trustees since 1982, and has served as Chairman of the Board since 1996. Under his leadership, Union County College has grown tremendously, with numerous new buildings and programs to serve the residents of Union County.
In addition to his role on the Board of Trustees, Richel is a member of the College’s Board of Governors. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Trinitas Health and Regional Medical Center (formerly Trinitas Hospital), and is a member of the Board of Trustees of John Cabot University, located in Rome, Italy. Richel also serves on the board of Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation, and is a member of the Two Hundred Club of Union County and of the Union County Crime Stoppers.
Richel is the Chairman, President and CEO of the Richel Family Foundation, was Vice Chairman of the Board of Independence Community Bank Corp., prior to its sale to Sovereign Bank in June of 2006. Earlier, he had been Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Statewide Savings Bank. Richel became Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Statewide Financial Corp. upon its formation as the holding company for the Bank. He served on the Board of Directors of the Bank since l985 and its predecessor institutions since l974. He is also Chairman, President & CEO of Dominion Partners, a financial investment, real estate partnership and consulting firm. Additionally, he serves as Chairman of Westminster Properties, a development company, and Richel Commercial Brokerage.
Richel served on the Banking Advisory Board of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance for 20 years, completing his role in 2015. He was appointed to the board in l996 after being nominated by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. He has also served on the board of Thrift Institutions Community Investment Corporation of New Jersey (TICIC), and the board of the New Jersey Savings League. Formerly, Mr. Richel served as a Trustee of the Garden State Cancer Center, Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, St. Peter’s College Board of Regents, and the Independence Community Foundation. He formerly served as Chairman and President of the Friends of the Child Advocacy Center of Union County and was a member of the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM), an arm of the United Nations.
Richel has received the Union County Association for Retarded Citizens Humanitarian Award, the Alexian Brothers New Jersey Man of the Year Award, the Union County Human Relations Commission Special Achievement Award, the Christopher Columbus Humanitarian of 2003 Award and was honored for “Making a Difference” by the Garden State Cancer Center in 2003. He received the 2005 Humanitarian Award by the Union County Educational Services Foundation, and was honored by Union County College in 2005 for outstanding service, and as a tribute to his outstanding service the College re-dedicated its Student Commons Building in his name. He was named an Alumnus of Distinction by the Elizabeth Education Foundation in 1997, and was presented the United Hospital Fund Distinguished Trustee Award of 2009. He is also a recipient of the 1999 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Richel graduated from Villanova in 1960 with a BS in Economics. He furthered his education by attending marketing and executive development programs at Columbia University and Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Andrea, have three children and eight grandchildren.
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government.