Frank Deiner, a Middlesex County freeholder in the 1960s, received the L’Hommedieu Award from Middlesex County College on August 25. One of the founding fathers of MCC, Deiner led the contingent of Middlesex County officials who traveled to Washington in 1964 to lobby for the land that would become MCC. He was also instrumental in selecting MCC’s first Board of Trustees.
The Paige D. L’Hommedieu Award is the highest honor given by the College. It is awarded annually at the Fall Convocation to a person who embodies the citizenship, leadership and humanity of Paige D. L’Hommedieu, the founding board chair of the College. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of MCC, so it is fitting that the College honor someone who did so much to create Middlesex County College.
Dorothy K. Power, chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees, presented the award.
“What a special time it is to recognize Mr. Deiner, who was here 50 years ago and has remained an advocate to this day, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our county college,” she said. “Thank you, Frank, for your foresight and work those many years ago to bring us to what and where we are today.”
Then 33 years old, Deiner was the youngest Middlesex County freeholder and he was also the chair of its Education Committee. He selected part of the Raritan Arsenal as the land he wanted for the College, and led the group from the county to Washington to lobby for it. In his pocket was a magic marker, and when Maurice Greenberg of the Government Services Administration took out a map and set it on his office floor, Deiner boldly circled the acreage he felt was needed for the College. They got it.
“I’m very honored to receive the Paige L’Hommedieu Citizenship Award,” Deiner said as he accepted the plaque. “To be with an institution at its birth and to see it grow gives me unending pride. It’s amazing to me how many people have improved their lives; it’s mind-boggling. The College continues to grow and has a great future.”