EOF Director Receives MLK Honor

Students and instructor in the Lab

Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund at PCCC Receives State Honor

Michelle Softley is Chosen for Academy of Leaders of the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission for the State of  New Jersey



Michelle Softley with former NJ Governor Thomas
H. Kean, Sr. at the awards ceremony.

Michelle Softley, director of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at Passaic County Community College, has been chosen by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission of New Jersey as one of  25 inaugural members of the Commission’s new Academy of Leaders.


Inspirational Leaders – Michelle Softley (front row, third from left)
is among the 25 inaugural members of the Academy of Leaders,
named by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of New Jersey.
(See detail below of the actual award)

The Academy was established as part of the Commission’s 25th Anniversary Celebration to recognize those individuals - educators, administrators, business professionals, public officials, clergy, and others - whose dedicated service continues the tradition of Dr. King’s vision for society and the world.

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen,” said Softley who, along with the other Academy Leaders, was honored at the Commission’s anniversary gala September 17 in Fort Monmouth New Jersey. Among the dignitaries in attendance, Governor Jon Corzine presented the Commission’s Edith Savage-Jennings Award for outstanding public service to former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, Sr.

“The former governor was Senator Kean when he wrote the legislation that established EOF 41 years ago,” said Softley, remarking on her particular appreciation for the former governor’s contributions. 


Detail (r) of the commemorative award received
by members of the Academy of Leaders and of the
25th Anniversary program book. 

A native of Michigan, Softley relocated to New Jersey during her college years and earned her BA degree in business administration at Upsala College and an MBA at New York Institute of Technology. After several years in corporate business management, she came to PCCC in 1979 where she served as an adjunct instructor and assistant director of Financial Aid. In 1986, she was named director of EOF.

In addition to her duties at PCCC, Softley served for more than 20 years on the executive board of the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association, where she has held the positions of Legislative Committee Chair, Public Relations Officer, Treasurer, Vice President and President. In 1992, she received the Board’s award for exemplary performance.


Michelle Softley (r) enjoys the festivities with
Dr. Jacqueline Kineavy, Senior Vice President
for Academic & Student Affairs at PCCC

Softley’s other honors include: Outstanding Young Woman of America (1985), Passaic County Community College Employee of the Year (1993), and Distinguished Women of Achievement Award from the College Preparatory Incentive Program, Inc. (2003).