Eastwick College in Hackensack, New Jersey, recently appointed Kyle P. Ledford Sr., CFSP, as program director for its associate in applied science in funeral service degree program.
Ledford owns and manages Ledford Funeral Home in Trenton, New Jersey, which he founded nearly 20 years ago. Born and raised in Linden, New Jersey, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hampton University; a master’s degree in educational leadership, guidance and counseling, and human resources from Montclair University; a diploma from American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service; and certification from Rutgers Center for Management Development.
Ledford has also utilized his extensive knowledge in funeral service and corporate America to provide presentations, seminars and workshops within and outside the funeral industry. He founded #mentorwithme, a funeral service mentoring program for licensed professionals, interns, students and persons with interest.
He has served in varying leadership capacities with the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, the American Board of Funeral Service Education, the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, Epsilon Nu Delta Mortuary Fraternity and the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.
On April 27, 2022, Ledford hosted a welcome reception for students, faculty and staff to kick off the school’s April term. It began with a Cavalcade of Hearses, which included more than 15 from numerous funeral homes, as well as a horse-drawn caisson from Ledford Funeral Home. The cavalcade lined the Eastwick College campus, along with a Louisiana second line band and funeral bagpiper.
Tom Eastwick, president of the college, kicked off the evening by welcoming the more than 30 licensed funeral directors in attendance, who represented more than 25 funeral homes in the tri-state area.
Ledford then offered words of encouragement to funeral service students and instructors alike as they embarked on a new partnership together. All the funeral service instructors were in attendance and addressed the students as well.
The program concluded with Carolyn M. Whigham of Whigham Funeral Home in Newark imparting words of wisdom to the students and charging them to take their education and the profession seriously. She also said they should apply themselves while taking advantage of all the opportunities afforded to them as students at Eastwick College. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a brief repast, along with some informal networking, hosted by the Garden State Funeral Directors of New Jersey.
As noted earlier, more than 30 funeral directors attended the reception, but special thanks is due the following leaders: Eleanor Rudolph, board member, New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science; Frank R. Galante, 1st vice president, New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association (NJSFDA); Rose E. Hernandez, delegate at large, NJSFDA; Sam C. Arnold, president of Essex, Union & West Hudson Funeral Directors Association; Wesley Lopez, president of Hudson Funeral Directors Association; Shawn’te Harvell, District 1 governor, National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association; and keynote speaker Carolyn M. Whigham, Whigham Funeral Home (Newark). eastwick.edu