New Jersey Hall of Fame

Did you know that New Jersey has a “Hall of Fame”?

I didn’t.  But it does.

I have written previously about the sort of sensitivity New Jersey natives (of which I am one) feel about their home state.  Dwarfed by New York City to the northeast and Philadelphia – and beyond that, Washington DC – to the southwest, New Jersey is constantly in search of a definition in a way that means something.

I suspect the New Jersey Hall of Fame is one of those ways to do it:  by honouring famous New Jersey natives (Michael Douglass, apparently born in New Brunswick) or residents (Albert Einstein), we in turn feel better about … living in New Jersey.  Or being from there.

Like the Academy Awards, the New Jersey Hall of Fame appears to work because people (at least in New Jersey) take it seriously. In fact, at the Hall of Fame “Class of 2012” induction that took place in June 2012, “all of the living inductees accepted in person and many family members were there to accept on behalf” of those who had passed away.

The ten new members were Milt Campbell, Dr. John Dorrance, Michael Douglas, Coach Bob Hurley, Wellington Mara, Samuel I. Newhouse, Annie Oakley, Joyce Carol Oates, Christopher Reeve and Sarah Vaughan. Here’s a photo:

The previous inductees are listed below by year:

John Basilone
Tony Bennett
Governor Brendan Byrne
Mary Higgins Clark
Admiral William Halsey
Franco Harris
Leon Hess
Queen Latifah
Bucky Pizzarelli
Martha Stewart
Joe Theismann
John Travolta
Bruce Willis
Unsung Heroes:
9/11 Victims & First Responders

Count Basie
Judy Blume
Justice William Brennan
Danny DeVito
Larry Doby
Michael Graves
Carl Lewis
Jack Nicholson
Alice Paul
Les Paul
Phillip Roth
Susan Sarandon
Wally Schirra
Frankie Valli
President Woodrow Wilson
Unsung Heroes:

Marc DiNardo & James D’heron

Bud Abbott & Lou Costello
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Althea Gibson
Jon Bon Jovi
Jerry Lewis
Guglielmo Marconi
Shaquille O’Neal
Phil Rizzuto
Paul Robeson
Carl Sagan
Walt Whitman
William Carlos Williams
Unsung Hero:
Captain Brian Brennan


(the first year)

Buzz Aldrin
Clara Barton
Yogi Berra
Bill Bradley
Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein
Malcolm Forbes
Robert Wood Johnson II
Vince Lombardi
Toni Morrison
Norman Schwarzkopf
Frank Sinatra
Bruce Springsteen
Meryl Streep
Harriet Tubman


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