Steve Kalafer, chairman of the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Dealerships and the Somerset Patriots received NJIT’s highest honor—the President’s Medal at NJIT’s 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, served as the special guest master of ceremonies. The world-renowned Duprees, who started their 1960s musical careers in Jersey City provided entertainment.
This year, 230 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 over $3 million. In addition to raising funds for scholarships, Celebration also 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.
Many NJIT students are the first in their families to attend college, and they rely upon merit and need-based scholarships,” said Jacquelynn Rhodes, associate vice president for development. Clifton native Aileen Davila, a senior in NJIT’s School of Management, representing such students, spoke at the event.
“Without the support of faculty, facilities and financial aid, I might not have made it to this point,” she said. “I consider myself blessed to have attended such a diverse and supportive university in which professors know me by my first name and students have a voice and constant support from faculty and staff.”
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.
Kalafer is chairman of the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Dealerships. 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.
For more information, visit the Celebration 2008 website.