Bloomfield man speaks at Berkeley College commencement

El Mehdi Bendriss, of Bloomfield, delivered remarks as the student speaker during Berkeley College’s virtual commencement ceremony on June 5.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Berkeley College graduate El Mehdi Bendriss, of Bloomfield, delivered remarks as the student speaker during the college’s all-virtual commencement ceremony on June 5. Bendriss, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in legal studies and a grade-point average of 4.0, is employed in Passaic’s Division of Personnel.

In his message to graduates, Bendriss acknowledged the unexpected times in which everyone is now living. 

“Tenacity is your defining feature,” he told his fellow members of the Class of 2020. “It’s what brought you to the end and it’s what will propel you through all the obstacles that still lie in front of you.”

Bendriss also shared his pride in the diversity of the Berkeley College graduating class; more than 50 percent self-identify as either Hispanic or black, and 72 percent of the 2020 graduates are women.

“We’re professionals, we’re mothers, we’re fathers, we’re high school graduates, we’re high achievers, we’re first-generation Americans, we’re immigrants,” he said. “But above all that, we are now college graduates supported by the degree that will follow us from this moment.”

As a student, Bendriss received awards for his thesis work and for community service through the Berkeley College Honors Program, a highly selective opportunity that exposes students to theme-based interdisciplinary seminars. He also served as a student ambassador, worked in the college’s government relations office, and completed an internship in the Mayor’s Office in Passaic. He plans to continue his education and hopes to one day serve the public with a law degree.

“It is my mission is to one day be a benefit to my community, fight for and defend people when they are at their most vulnerable, and protect the sanctity of knowledge and learning,” Bendriss said.