Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker, Jeffrey Vanderbeek, chairman/managing partner of the New Jersey Devils hockey franchise, Verizon Communications Inc., and Vincent Naimoli, chairman of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team were honored at NJIT’s Celebration 2007. Comedian Joe Piscopo entertained guests at the affair held this past November at the Palace at Somerset Park.
Celebration is NJIT’s annual black-tie event. This year, 300 supporters attended and raised almost $400,000 for endowed scholarship funds to benefit NJIT students. Since 1995, this gala evening of dinner and dancing has raised nearly $3 million. Celebration honors individuals for achievements of great benefit to New Jersey and the nation, and organizations that have been exceptional in their commitment to the university's mission.
Booker, who was the special master of ceremony for the event, took the oath of office as Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city on July 1, 2006 following a sweeping electoral victory. He is just the third person to govern Newark since 1970. A native of northern New Jersey, Booker’s passion for politics and justice was instilled at an early age by a family committed to change. He is a partner in the Newark law firm of Booker, Rabinowitz, et al. and is also the founder of Newark Now, a grassroots nonprofit group.
Vanderbeek, whose name is synonymous with Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, and the New Jersey Devils hockey franchise, received the NJIT President’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Vanderbeek became chairman/managing partner of the Devils franchise in June 2004, having previously served as a member of the Devils’ ownership group since summer 2000. He also is president and chairman of Devils Renaissance Development LLC, the affiliate of the Devils responsible for designing, developing and constructing Prudential Center.
Verizon Communications was named outstanding corporate partner. Dennis Bone, Verizon, New Jersey President, accepted the honor on behalf of the company. Over the years, there has been a close and supportive relationship between Verizon and NJIT. In addition to generous financial support, numerous NJIT graduates have embarked on successful careers with Verizon, with more than 60 alumni now employed at the company. Verizon executives have also served on many of the university’s advisory and governing boards, contributing their extensive expertise to the growth of New Jersey’s preeminent technological research university.
Naimoli, of Tampa graduated from NJIT in 1962 with a master of science in mechanical engineering. He is a recipient of the NJIT Alumnus Award. He is known among baseball fans as a leader who focuses on the game’s welfare while building a franchise from within.
Suwah Amara, a student in Newark College of Engineering at NJIT majoring in biomedical engineering, addressed the audience. Amara, who has been the recipient of several NJIT scholarships, interned last summer for Treena Arinzeh, PhD, associate professor in the department of biomedical engineering at NJIT. Amara assisted in creating a testing protocol for mechanically characterizing electrospun scaffolds for cartilage regeneration.
For more than 125 years, the institution historically known as New Jersey Institute of Technology has enabled talented young men and women to embark on careers in a broad range of technological, scientific and design fields. Generations of NJIT alumni have risen to prominence in the private and public sectors, realizing their full promise as leaders and innovators. NJIT is dedicated to making this opportunity available to as many outstanding applicants as possible, regardless of their financial circumstances. With the assistance of concerned supporters who share this vision for the future, NJIT will continue to nurture the aspirations of students whose personal success is vital for the well-being of our home state, and nation as a whole and the global community.