The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy recognized five outstanding New Jerseyans at the 2015 Hughes Center Honors todayat the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway, NJ.
The Honors are awarded for professional excellence and a commitment to public service, civility and bipartisanship which reflects the life and career of Ambassador William J. Hughes, who served as U.S. ambassador to Panama and as a U.S. congressman for 20 years.
“Tonight we honor a person who was able to bridge partisan divides,” said President Herman Saatkamp in introducing former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean to receive the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. “Governor Kean treated allies and adversaries with respect.”
“It’s an honor to get an award with Bill Hughes’ name on it,” said Gov. Kean. “He is and was the best.”
“There’s still so much to do and to do together,” Gov. Kean continued “When you get to know people, it doesn’t matter if they have a D. or an R. behind their name – they probably went into politics for the right reasons, and when you understand that – you can get a lot done.”
Kean served as governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990 and promoted the state’s identity through “The New Jersey and You — Perfect Together” campaign. He was known for innovation in education, private sector technology partnerships; support for the arts and environmental protection. He served as the president of Drew University from 1990 to 2005. In 2002, President George W. Bush named him to chair the National Commission on Terrorism Attacks Upon the United States.
He cited a speech that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was writing on the day he died, that said: “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
“We can still dream big dreams,” Gov. Kean said. “We’ve still got the best country and the best state in the world,”
Retired Associate Justice John E. Wallace Jr., of the New Jersey Supreme Court, received the Civility in Government and Politics Award. In presenting it, Ambassador Hughes cited Wallace’s “deep and abiding commitment to civility,” and “the extraordinary way he has conducted himself as a citizen, lawyer and judge.”
Justice Wallace is counsel to the firm of Brown and Connery and concentrates his practice in mediation, arbitration and complex litigation. Justice Wallace’s career as a jurist spanned over 25 years, and he thanked Gov. Kean for first appointing him to the Superior Court bench in 1984. Wallace received his bachelor degree from the University of Delaware and his law degree from Harvard Law School.
State Sen. Chris Connors of the 9th District received the Distinctive Alumni Leadership Award. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Stockton, where he said, “My professional life was born. For me, a spark went off – to have a thirst for knowledge and to be a part of the community.”
“Stockton provided me with the tools – insight, compassion and confidence – to do what I do today,” Connors said.
He earned his M.P.A. from Rutgers University and his J.D. Rutgers School of Law-Camden. He currently practices law with Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Cherkos & Connors. Prior to his tenure in the State Senate, Connors also served in the General Assembly, on the Lacey Township Committee and as mayor of Lacey Township.
Edward J. Graham, chairman and CEO of South Jersey Industries, received the Excellence in Civic Engagement Award.
“Our employees are all very involved in giving of their time and money” in their communities, he said. “We’re all very pleased that you recognize our efforts.”
An alumnus of Rider University for his undergraduate degree, Graham holds a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and investment from Drexel University. He is a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and serves as a member of the Hughes Center for Public Policy.
Carl Archut Jr., president of the Stockton Student Senate, received the Distinctive Student Leadership Award – and Gov. Kean urged him to run for office someday.
Archut was selected as Student Senator of the Year in 2013-2014 for the Involvement Awards and currently helps manage the Student Senate’s $650,000 budget.
Archut, of Paulsboro, NJ, is a junior pursuing a degree in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Leadership and Hospitality Management.
He is also very active with the Xi-Rho chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Stockton, which recently received the most Scholarship Leadership Awards in New Jersey and was ranked #2 in the nation with the most awards received from the national fraternity’s endowment fund. Archut received of one of those leadership awards.
He plans to pursue a Master’s degree in higher education administration upon graduating in May 2016.
Emmanuel Anyanwu was awarded the Hughes Center for Public Policy Washington Internship Scholarship for the spring semester. His internship is with the National Veterans Legal Service in Washington, D.C., “a nonprofit organization changing the lives of American veterans facing legal issues,” he said.
The internship program also includes an academic seminar on international development, which Anyanwu called “truly special.” He said he hopes eventually to use what he is learning to develop projects in Nigeria, where he was born.
Anyanwu, a resident of Pennsauken in Camden County, NJ, is a Political Science major who will graduate this semester. He previously studied at the William Paterson University of NJ before transferring to Stockton. In fall 2012 he successfully completed a local internship with the Dept. of Labor in Philadelphia, PA.
Stockton’s Washington, D.C. Internship program is an intensive para-professional and academic experience in which Stockton students live, work, and study in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. Stockton is affiliated with the nation’s largest internship organization, The Washington Center (TWC) for Internships and Academic Seminars.
Stockton has sent more students to the Washington Center historically than any other institution in the country.
The $1,000 scholarship helps defray the cost of living in the nation’s capital, making it possible for students to participate in internships, said Daniel J. Douglas, executive director of the Hughes Center.
President Saatkamp thanked Dr. Edward H. Salmon, chairman of the Hughes Center’s steering committee, “for bringing the Hughes Center Honors together.”
Dr. Salmon said the Hughes Center has achieved a national reputation for excellence in just eight years. The center includes the Stockton Polling Institute and the Center for Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance (HESIG), and sponsors the Legislator-in-Residence and Congress-to-Campus programs, along with the D.C. internship program.
The center recently received a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to train social studies teachers to use web-based tools to increase the civic knowledge of students in grades K-12.
The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey.
The Center is named for Ambassador William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton College. The Hughes Center can be found at www.facebook.com/Hughes.Center.Stockton.College and can be followed on Twitter @hughescenter