Four of the 50 NJ Hall of Fame Nominees (NJHOF) have ties to the Meadowlands, and the museum’s permanent home is being built right at American Dream in East Rutherford. Show your favorite local hero some love and log your vote at VoteHallofFame.com.
Garden State residents have until Friday, May 19 to vote for two nominees in each of five categories: Arts & Letters, Enterprise, Performing Arts, Public Service, and Sports.
Educator and charter school founder Steve Adubato Sr. is a nominee in the public service category. He is notable to the greater Meadowlands region as a champion of education in Newark. His son is Emmy-winning broadcast journalist and author Steve Adubato, a regular contributor to Meadowlands Magazine and longtime Meadowlands Chamber member.
Read more: Putting New Jersey Greatness on Display
Tony Orlando (of Tony Orlando and Dawn) grew up in Union City and Hasbrouck Heights and is nominated under the Performing Arts category. Lou Lamoriello and Tiki Barber made their mark in the history of Meadowlands sports — but for very different reasons.
The list includes both living and deceased trailblazers and luminaries — even as far back as the Revolutionary War.
Voting is Underway
Information about all 50 nominees is below. The public is invited to vote at VoteHallofFame.com, with the final inductees announced in July.
The 15th Annual New Jersey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is planned in October at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The event will also be streamed on multiple social media platforms.
Last Year’s Winners
Last year’s inductees included comedian Chelsea Handler (Livingston), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg (Newark), US Women’s National Soccer Team star and three-time Olympian Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick) and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski (Voorhees).
Vote for two nominees from each of the five categories below. Cast your vote using the official online form here.
ARTS & LETTERS
John McPhee (Princeton), journalist, Pulitzer Prize winning writer of 29 books, scores of essays, and credited as one of the pioneers of literary journalism and creative nonfiction. McPhee has taught writing at Princeton University since 1975.
Amiri Baraka (Newark), writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism.
Thomas Fleming (Jersey City), historian and historical novelist who authored over 40 fiction and nonfiction books.
Susan Hendricks (New Brunswick), television news anchor currently heading “Weekend Express with Susan Hendricks” on HLN, a CNN spinoff.
George Segal (South Brunswick), painter and sculptor associated with the pop art movement.
Janet Evanovich (South River), the 40-time New York Times best-selling author, is best known for her 27 Stephanie Plum crime series novels. She has written more than 40 novels in addition to co-authoring books, and adapting many for screen and TV.
Col. John Stevens III (Hoboken), lawyer, engineer, and inventor who constructed the first U.S. steam locomotive, first steam-powered ferry, and first U.S. commercial ferry service. He was also influential in the creation of U.S. patent law.
George A. Tice (Newark), a photographer whose work depicted a broad range of life, landscape, and urban environment mainly in New Jersey.
Dr. George Theophilus Walker (Montclair), a composer, pianist, and organist, and the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Edmund Wilson (Red Bank), writer, literary critic, and journalist who authored over 20 books.
Dr. Leon G. Smith (Essex Fells), was one of the first infectious disease specialists in N.J. He started the first HIV/Aids clinic in the state, the second one in the nation, which was launched during a time of great uncertainty and fear.
- Paul Cancro (Point Pleasant), founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems Inc.
- George K. Cooney (Teaneck), creative innovator who directed numerous Clio award-winning advertising campaigns. Acquired EUE/Screen Gems, a division of Columbia Pictures, in 1983.
- Dennis Foy (Lawrenceville), an influential and renowned chef who has owned critically-acclaimed restaurants in New Jersey and New York City for more than 30 years. Known as a farm-to-table pioneer.
- Janice Huff (Denville), chief meteorologist on WNBC in New York.
- Denise Morrison (Long Branch), a business executive who served as president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company.
- Lillian Gilbreth (Montclair), a psychologist, industrial engineer, consultant, and educator who was an early pioneer in applying psychology to time-and-motion studies. She was also the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
- Mario Perillo (Saddle River), a businessman and chairman of Perillo Tours, Inc., which became the largest operator of tours to Italy.
- Finn Wentworth (Morristown), was the COO and CEO of Yankeenets, the holding company for the New York Yankees, New Jersey Nets, and New Jersey Devils. One of the founders of the YES Network, he was also president and CEO of the New Jersey Nets.
- Josh Weston (Montclair), the former CEO of ADP and notable philanthropist.
Tony Orlando (Hasbrouck Heights), a singer whose career spans over 60 years, best known for his work as part of Tony Orlando and Dawn.
Paul Rudd (Passaic), film, television, and stage actor who got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015. He received a SAG nomination in 1999 and was named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2021.
Brian De Palma (Newark), a director and screenwriter best known for suspense, crime and psychological thrillers.
- Anthony Bourdain (Englewood), a celebrity chef, author, and travel documentarian.
- George Clinton (Plainfield), musician, singer, bandleader, and record producer. His Parliament-Funkadelic collective developed an influential and eclectic form of funk music during the 1970s.
- Celeste Holm (Washington Township), Oscar-winning actress with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Marilyn McCoo (Jersey City), with a three-octave vocal range, she was the lead female vocalist in the 5th Dimension and host of the 1980s music television show Solid Gold.
- Joe Walsh (Montclair), guitarist, singer, and songwriter of James Gang, Eagles, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. As a member of the Eagles, Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
- Eva Marie Saint (Newark), film, stage, radio, and television actress who won an Oscar and a Primetime Emmy Award.
- Phoebe Snow (Teaneck), roots music singer-songwriter and guitarist who also wrote and sang numerous commercial jingles and TV theme songs.
Steve Adubato Sr. (Newark), a politician and educator who founded the Robert Treat Academy Charter School in Newark, one of the first charter schools authorized by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Dr. Jill Biden (Mahwah), First Lady of the United States since 2021 and a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College. As the wife of President Joe Biden she is thought to be the first wife of a vice president or president to hold a paying job during her husband’s tenure.
William T. Cahill (Collingswood), a politician, lawyer, and academic who served as the 46th governor of New Jersey from 1970 to 1974. He’s credited with bring the NY Giants to N.J. and introducing the state lottery.
Michael Chertoff (Elizabeth), an attorney and the second U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to serve under President George W. Bush. He also co-authored the USA Patriot Act
Charles Edison (West Orange), son of Thomas Edison, was a politician, businessman, inventor, and animal behaviorist who served as the 42ndgovernor of New Jersey from 1941 to 1944.
William Livingston (Elizabeth), a politician and lawyer who served as the first governor of New Jersey (1776–1790) during the American Revolutionary War.
Peter W. Rodino (Newark), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee (1973-1989), he was the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives from New Jersey (1949-1989) until he was surpassed in 2021.
George Shultz (Englewood), an economist, businessman, diplomat, statesman, and one of only two persons to have held four different Cabinet-level posts.
Richard Stockton (Princeton), an American Founding Father, lawyer, jurist, legislator, and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Christine Todd Whitman (Oldwick), a politician and author who was the 50th governor of N.J. from 1994 to 2001and was the first female governor in the state.
Tiki Barber (Florham Park), retired running back, he played10 seasons for the Giants (1997-2006) and at one time held 22 franchise records. He was inducted into the team’s inaugural Ring of Honor in 2010. He has published multiple books, was a correspondent NBC’s The Today Show, and is a radio host for WFAN.
Lou Lamoriello (North Caldwell), president of hockey operations and general manager for the New York Islanders. He was general manager of the New Jersey Devils for 28 years (1987 to 2015). Under his direction, the Devils became one of the most successful teams in the NHL, with five appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals, including titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
Kathy Schachel (Teaneck), inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame in 2015, she was the first women’s professional champion and took home two world championships, three national titles, and a European championship.
Sue Wicks (Piscataway), former professional basketball player starting in the inaugural year of the WNBA, who played with the New York Liberty from 1997 to 2002. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. She played professionally in Italy, Japan, Spain and Israel before the WNBA was founded.
Dick Button (Englewood), former figure skater, two-time Olympic champion, and five-time consecutive World champion.
Orel Hershiser (Cherry Hill), drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1979, he pitched 18 MLB seasons from 1983 to 2000, and helped lead the Dodgers to a championship in the 1988 World Series. He is also a professional poker player.
Jim Nantz (Marlboro), sportscaster with CBS Sports since the 1980s who anchors the coverage of the Master’s Tournament. He also worked on telecasts of the NFL, NCAA Division I, the NBA, and the PGA Tour.
Paul Tagliabue (Jersey City), after serving as a lawyer for the NFL, he became the Commissioner of the NFL in 1989. During his tenure as commissioner, the NFL expanded from 28 teams to 32.
Sal Paolantonio (Moorsetown), Philadelphia bureau reporter for ESPN since 1995, the veteran NFL reporter contributes to multiple shows for the station.
Drew Pearson (South River), wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, he helped the team to three Super Bowl appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XII in 1978.
About the New Jersey Hall of Fame
NJHOF satellite exhibits are across the state, with the organization’s permanent home under construction at American Dream entertainment, shopping and dining destination in East Rutherford. The NJHOF Entertainment & Learning Center (ELC) will be located at Court A, Level G. The ELC will feature exhibits and highly immersive experiences to celebrate the Garden State, as well as inductees of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Since 2008, the NJHOF has hosted 14 ceremonies for more than 200 notable individuals and groups in recognition of their induction into the Hall of Fame. The NJHOF endeavors to present school children with significant and impactful role models to show that they can, and should, strive for excellence. The NJHOF is thankful for the support of its many sponsors, without which none of our endeavors would be possible. For more information, go to www.njhalloffame.org.