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Former RCC Board Member Cancel Named Trustee Emeritus

Former RCC Board Member Cancel Named Trustee Emeritus

Former RCC Trustee Isidro Cancel


DATE: February 19, 2014

CONTACT: Maralin Roffino





Former RCC Board Member Cancel Named Trustee Emeritus

RCC graduate, ex-board chair devoted to College, community service


Ramapo – Isidro “Papo” Cancel, a Rockland Community College graduate and former member and chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, has been granted Trustee Emeritus status by the College’s current board. The honorary designation is conferred on trustees who served for at least 10 years and established a record of outstanding service to the board, the College and the local community.


Cancel is the 11th trustee awarded Emeritus/Emerita status in the college’s 55-year history and the first since 2002. Others include John Shankey, Joan Orazio and Rita Grayson, as well as deceased honorees Frank Manley, Crystal Potter, Belle Mayer Zeck, Andrew Norman, Jacqueline Holland, Fred Van Wort and Stephen Goldberg.


Cancel, the first Hispanic appointed to the board, served from 1991-2003, including a two-year term as chair from 1996-1998. While RCC made many strides forward during his tenure, he cited two projects he is especially proud to have helped bring to fruition: the traffic light at RCC’s College Road entrance and the design and approval of the Technology Center, which opened in 2006. He also took satisfaction in advocating for an improved presence of RCC in Haverstraw and better bus transportation to the main campus from northern Rockland, both of which were ultimately achieved.


“I’m honored to be chosen as a Trustee Emeritus, and I am in great company with past trustees who have won this award,” Cancel said. “Being a trustee involved a lot of hard work and time, but the satisfaction I got from attending graduation each year and seeing the students receive their degrees made it all worth it. Serving on the board was one way I could pay back RCC for opening up opportunities for me in higher education.”


Cancel was born in Puerto Rico and came to Haverstraw with his family at age 2. He graduated from North Rockland High School in 1968 and RCC in 1971, and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from SUNY at Brockport and a master’s in guidance and counseling from Long Island University.


Cancel spent 36 years in the North Rockland School District as a physical education teacher, attendance officer and school counselor. He also coached football in the district all 36 years, was girls’ softball coach for seven years, and was elected to the RCC Sports Hall of Fame last month and the North Rockland High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.


Cancel has devoted himself to community service for more than four decades. He is deputy supervisor of Haverstraw and a 14-year member of the Haverstraw Town Board; a 42-year volunteer firefighter and former captain of Rescue Hook & Ladder #1 of Haverstraw; a volunteer with local food bank, homeless and holiday toy drive programs; a member of St. Peter’s parish council and board of trustees; past president of Head Start of Rockland; and has been involved with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Rockland and the Girl Scouts Council of Rockland. He and his wife of 32 years, Patricia, live in Thiells.




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