NJIT will hold its annual black-tie benefit dinner Celebration, on Nov. 14, 2008, at Pleasantdale Chateau, West Orange. Former New Jersey Governor and President of the New Jersey State Senate, the Hon. Richard J. Codey, will serve as the special guest master of ceremonies. The world-renowned Duprees, who started their 1960s musical careers in Jersey City with hits like “You Belong to Me,” will provide entertainment.
“Dinner proceeds will endow scholarships for students at NJIT,” said Jacquelynn Rhodes, associate vice president for development. “Many NJIT students are the first in their families to attend college, and they rely upon merit and need-based scholarships.”
A festive evening of dinner and dancing, Celebration also honors individuals for achievements of beneficial to the state and nation, plus exceptional organizations in their commitment to NJIT’s mission.
Steve Kalafer, chairman of the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Dealerships and the Somerset Patriots, will receive NJIT’s highest honor—the President’s Medal. Beyond Kalafer’s entrepreneurial successes, he is widely recognized for his service to government, serving in various volunteer capacities under the past four governors. In entertainment, Kalafer’s production companies Flemington Pictures and New Jersey Studios have to date garnered three Academy Award® nominations for the animated short More (1998); the documentary Curtain Call (2000) produced with Peter LeDonne; the compelling feature film Sister Rose’s Passion (2004). The latter examined the accomplishments of the late Seton Hall University Professor Sister Rose Thering who dedicated her life to improving Jewish-Christian relations. Community leaders, local government and sports fans credit Kalafer for introducing minor league baseball and affordable family entertainment to Central New Jersey as founder of the four-time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots, Bridgewater. Notable honors Kalafer has received include the Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year and the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award.
Edward Cruz, CEO of E.E. Cruz & Company, Inc, Holmdel, will receive NJIT’s Outstanding Alumnus Award. Cruz graduated from NJIT in 1963 with a BS in civil engineering and is a Professional Engineer. Today, Cruz owns and operates one of the region’s largest public works construction companies. Current projects focus on rebuilding significant aspects of Ground Zero at the World Trade Center including key parts of the 9/11 Memorial. Cruz was a founder of the Ironbound Bank, now a division of New York Community Bank. Cruz played on NJIT’s soccer team which won a national championship in 1962. He was inducted into NJIT’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
Wachovia Bank, NA, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, will be named the outstanding corporate partner of the year. Wachovia Senior Vice President Stephanie Tonic, will be honorary dinner chair. Tonic, who was born and raised in East Orange and still lives there, is a member of the NJIT Board of Overseers. Elysa Scharf, Wachovia senior vice president and NJ director for government banking, will accept the honor.
Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services companies, with assets of $812.4 billion and market capitalization of $33.5 billion as of June 30, 2008. Wachovia provides a broad range of retail banking and brokerage, asset and wealth management, and corporate and investment banking products and services to customers through 3,300 retail financial centers in 21 states.
Since 1995, many of NJIT’s most generous supporters have gathered annually for Celebration, which has raised nearly $3 million in scholarship funds at New Jersey’s preeminent technological university. For more information, click here: Celebration 2008.