Community colleges merge into Rowan College of South Jersey

A pair of South Jersey community colleges have merged, creating Rowan College of South Jersey, a regional, dual-campus college, RCSJ announced this week.

The merger of Rowan College at Gloucester County and Cumberland County College became effective Monday, marked by a ceremony on the Deptford Township campus.

The merger, which also includes an expanded 10-year partnership agreement with Rowan University, is the first of its kind of New Jersey, RCSJ said in a news release.

“The joining of these two schools to create one Rowan College of South Jersey is exactly the right thing to do,” state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said in a prepared statement. “The students and residents will benefit from increased academic offerings and the opportunity for a seamless transition into Rowan University. I applaud the leadership of Gloucester County and Cumberland County for taking the initiative to make higher education more affordable and accessible for their residents.”

Frederick Keating, president of Rowan College at Gloucester County, will be RCSJ’s first president. Gene Concordia, chair of RCGC’s board, will become the chair of the RCSJ board.

“I am extremely honored to have the privilege to serve as Rowan College of South Jersey’s first president,” Keating said in a statement. “This pioneering, hybrid institution provides students with more choices, including the option to pursue advanced degrees at Rowan University and other four-year universities, without ever leaving the Rowan College of South Jersey campuses.

“Thanks to close working relationships and affiliations with local chambers of commerce, business and workforce development, students and employees have the chance to further enrich their educational goals. Rowan College of South Jersey is prepared to meet the needs of South Jersey students.”

RCSJ said it hopes to be a catalyst for economic growth as part of an “Eds, Meds and Commerce” corridor along Route 55.

“With this merger, community college has been redefined in the state of New Jersey — redefined in the country,” U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) said in a statement. “It’s our aim to make higher education more affordable and accessible. We are doing it smarter; we are doing it more cost-efficiently. That is why we are here today. It’s a great day for education.”

The new school will offer more than 120 degree and certificate programs, including nine online-only educational paths. It will also offer education, medical and workforce training programs. In addition, all students will have access to the “Rowan Work & Learn” program and “3+1” partnership with Rowan University, among other opportunities.

“Although Rowan College of South Jersey and Rowan University remain independent from each other, the region will benefit greatly from our commitment to the partnership,” Rowan University President Ali Houshmand said in a statement. “Our goal is to provide a variety of pathways to quality degree programs that are affordable, relevant and accessible to all. In turn, and over time, lives will change, businesses will prosper and our local economy will grow.”

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Rutgers Business School adds master’s in digital marketing

A new online Master of Science in digital marketing is now being offered by Rutgers Business School to, as the school put it, help produce a greater amount of marketing professionals that will meet the industry’s high demand.

From prospective students to marketing veterans wanting to advance their careers, participants can receive more in-depth instruction in their fields, or prospective fields, through the program.

The deadline to apply and begin classes in the fall is Aug. 5. Applicants are admitted on a rolling basis.

Students go through a 36-credit program as their master’s degrees are completed with industry certificates that enhance their working knowledge of platforms such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Those with industry experience or credits from digital marketing curriculum like Rutgers Business School’s Executive Education Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing can qualify for up to six credits.

“I often say there’s no such thing as digital marketing. There’s just marketing in a digital world,” said Stacy Schwartz, a Rutgers professor of professional practice who is building the program to address the industry’s need for a larger pool of digital marketing expertise.

The Rutgers Master of Science in digital marketing will teach students concepts such as consumer behavior, marketing research, retail marketing, law, policy, ethics and marketing strategy, from a digital point of view.

Other aspects of the curriculum focus on executing digital marketing campaigns, including digital advertising and promotions, mobile marketing and innovation, search engine marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.

“This is a continuation of our leadership in digital marketing instruction,” Schwartz said. “Our curriculum is being developed with the input of industry professionals to quickly adapt to meet the changing needs of employers.”

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Middlesex County College gets $10K gift from Provident foundation

Middlesex County College has received a $10,000 donation from the Provident Bank Foundation, continuing the bank’s longstanding support.

“The Provident Bank Foundation has been a longtime and very loyal supporter of MCC and its students,” said Veronica Clinton, executive director of the MCC Foundation. “We are grateful for their continued faith in the work we do and in our students.”

The Provident Bank Foundation’s 2019-20 Mission Partnership supports Middlesex County College’s Annual Scholarship Reception, Casino Night and other programs.

“The scholarship paid for two full classes, which helped me so much. It’s been a culture shock going back to school, but I’m showing my kids anything is possible at any age,” said Justin Lally, who went back to school after 20 years to move up at his employer, Toyota. He received the Provident Bank foundation scholarship of $1,000.

The Provident Bank Foundation Endowed Scholarship at MCC supports business or accounting students with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students enrolled in the Educational Opportunity Fund program are given preference. The scholarship was established in 2005 and has allowed students to earn an associate degree at MCC.

“I feel prepared to succeed at Rutgers, and I attribute that to the help and individual attention that MCC gave me,” said Cameron Clark, who entered the workforce but decided to go back to college at 24 years old. He graduated from MCC last semester with an associate degree while the scholarship helped him pay for his last few classes. He’s now at Rutgers University.

The Provident Bank Foundation was established in 2003 by Jersey City-based Provident Bank with the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in the region through support of not-for-profit groups, institutions, schools and other 501(c)(3) organizations that provide services in communities served by the bank. Since inception, the foundation has granted more than $24 million to not-for-profit organizations and institutions working toward stronger communities.

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MHS Lift, in partnership with Rowan, establishes $200K scholarship fund

A Camden City teen has been selected as the first recipient of a full scholarship from MHS Lift’s newly created scholarship fund.

Amir King Jr., the scholarship recipient, will be honored at the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County‘s Annual Teen Recognition Dinner at Rowan University Business Hall on May 30.

Andy Levin and Brett Levin, brothers and co-owners of MHS Lift in Pennsauken, a warehousing and distribution solutions firm, have pledge more than $200,000 to establish the MHS Lift Scholarship Fund.

In partnership with Rowan, the scholarship will provide full academic support, complete with books, room and board, for undergraduate students at the school who are full time New Jersey residents with demonstrated financial need and active members of the BGCCC.

“I’m both grateful and stunned, and humbled for this incredible opportunity,” Amir, 19, a Camden Academy Charter High School graduate, said. “Receiving this scholarship will have a huge impact on my life.”

“My brother Andy and I believe that the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County is a tremendous organization that provides support and safety to children and teenagers to enhance their abilities to learn and grow into strong adults.  We wanted to invest in those kids as well and established this scholarship to give them an opportunity to get an education at a University that will provide them with a chance to give back to their families and communities.  Rowan certainly is that University and they were fantastic to work with in order to put this scholarship together,” Brett Levin said.

The scholarship will accept one new student every year, so throughout a four-year period, there will be four students enrolled at any given time.

“MHS Lift felt that it was important to give back to students in need and I’m happy that Andy and Brett chose to partner with us to make a difference. Rowan is playing an active role in Camden’s revival and partnerships like this support that. Thanks to this scholarship, recipients can graduate from college debt-free and have access to the highest quality educational experience,” John Zabinski, senior vice president for university advancement, Rowan, said.

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NJIT renames College of Architecture and Design for Hilliers, icons in profession

New Jersey Institute of Technology announced Tuesday it is renaming its College of Architecture and Design for renowned architects J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier, in recognition of a gift from the Hilliers that represents the largest donation in NJIT’s history.

The gift will provide support for student scholarships, faculty development, state-of-the-art technology, physical space improvements, high-impact educational experiences and curricular innovation.

The J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design at NJIT was formally announced on campus following NJIT’s undergraduate commencement ceremony at the Prudential Center in Newark.

“The Hilliers are icons in the world of architecture, and we are incredibly proud to have this school carry their name,” NJIT President Joel S. Bloom said.

“Their involvement with and support of NJIT have been extensive and incredibly valuable over the course of many years, and this gift will have a transformative effect on our students, faculty and research within the areas of architecture and design.”

During the 1990s, the Hilliers’ firm designed the architecture school at NJIT that will now bear the Hillier name. The project incorporated open and closed studios; an exhibition and conference gallery; high head-room space for construction, structural and materials testing; and long views of Newark and Manhattan.

Illuminated at all hours to allow students to work around the clock, the building is referred to as “the lantern on the hill.” It won the firm a New Jersey Chapter Design Award from the American Institute of Architects.

NJIT President Joel Bloom alongside J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier, center.

“NJIT is very forward-thinking in everything that it does. I believe that architecture needs to look forward as a profession, more today than ever before. This inspired us to think that NJIT would be a good place to support the future of architecture,” J. Robert Hillier said.

“Our hope is that this support will improve access to architectural education and advance architectural research at NJIT, which is a major research university. This gift really matters to NJIT, and that means a lot to Barbara and me.”

Barbara Hillier agreed.

“I think the leadership at NJIT is very special,” she said. “They have been looking for ways to enhance the programs they have, not just in architecture, but in other disciplines as well. And they really embrace all of their students and provide them with a very strong education from which to launch their careers.”

The Hilliers, both architects, are co-founders and principals of Studio Hillier LLC, located in Princeton. Their precedent firm, Hillier Architecture, was the third-largest strictly architectural firm in the country and was identified by the magazine Architectural Record as one of the best-managed firms in the U.S.

Their interdisciplinary design firm counts hospitals, corporate headquarters, universities, independent schools, arts centers and museums, and residential properties among its many projects around the world. The Hilliers have received more than 300 state, national and international design awards for their commitment to “place, sustainability and the built environment,” while also offering expertise in master planning, urban land use strategy and historic preservation.

Among their many notable commissions are the 5 million-square-foot Sprint world headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, the Sydney Harbour Casino in Australia, the Las Colinas Convention Center in Irving, Texas, and the World Headquarters for GlaxoSmithKline in London. The firm was also the executive architect and interior designer for the Louis Vuitton Tower on 57th Street in Manhattan. Their historical restoration work includes the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington and the Virginia State Capitol.

In the educational arena, the Hilliers have worked for over 100 colleges and universities, including Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Columbia and Brown of the Ivy League, as well as Duke, Howard, Penn State, Mount Holyoke and Bryant University, where they designed the original Tupper Campus.

Their firm has designed 17 private international schools and has done several buildings on the campuses of the Peddie School and the Lawrenceville School. In their hometown, they were responsible for the design of the Princeton Medical Center in association with HOK and the Princeton Public Library, one of approximately 40 libraries they have designed across the country.

Like his late father, James Hillier, the director of research for RCA, who developed the first working electron microscope as a graduate student, J. Robert Hillier is a recipient of an honorary degree from NJIT. He also received the NJIT President’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2009 and the AIA’s Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Medal in 2007. He was named New Jersey’s Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine in 1989.

As a member of the core faculty at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, J. Robert Hillier has lectured extensively throughout the United States at schools of architecture and to AIA chapters. He is a member of the board of overseers of the Foundation at NJIT and has served on the board of visitors of the university’s Albert Dorman Honors College since 1996, when he was its first chairman.

Barbara Hillier has received many honors for her architectural work, including numerous AIA awards and the distinguished Chicago Athenaeum American Prize for Architecture. She has lectured and served on design juries at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Temple University, among other academic institutions. Her work has been featured in such prestigious publications as the New York Times, Architecture + Design and Metropolis.

The College of Architecture and Design at NJIT was established as the New Jersey School of Architecture in 1973, in response to an AIA National Advisory Committee recommendation to build a public school of architecture in Newark, and with approval from the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education.

The college was granted accreditation in 1978 and has since expanded its academic and research offerings with undergraduate degree programs in architecture, interior design, digital design and industrial design, and graduate-level programs in architecture and infrastructure planning. It continues to play an integral role in architectural and design education in New Jersey and the region.

NJIT Provost and Senior Executive Vice President Fadi P. Deek said the gift will have great impact.

“The Hilliers’ generosity will have a lasting impact on the quality of architecture and design education at NJIT for future researchers, practitioners and leaders,” he said. “Their gift will allow us to further invest in people, faculty and students, while also promoting innovative programs and research.”

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Can Jersey Keep Its Top STEM Students?

STEM Scholar Anna Prilutsky networks with Kevin Campos, an associate VP at Merck, at the STEM Scholars Industry Conference in February at NJIT. Courtesy of The Research & Development Council of New Jersey

Can New Jersey retain its best and brightest? That’s the essential issue addressed by the Governor’s STEM Scholars, a 5-year-old program focused on inspiring students in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math—and helping them recognize the opportunities for talented and innovative STEM graduates in New Jersey.

A public-private partnership among the Office of the Governor, the Department of Education, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey and private industries, the program identifies top STEM talent and introduces those students to the state’s vast STEM economy. The goal is to retain that talent in the state.

“Developing, mentoring and retaining STEM talent” is a top priority for the Research & Development Council, says council executive director Kim Case. “The Governor’s STEM Scholars program, the penultimate point of the STEM pipeline, fulfills this role.”

The first step is to spread the word about the program to eligible New Jersey students—particularly those in underserved communities. “According to the National Skills Coalition, between 2017 and 2027, the number of STEM jobs will grow by 9 percent in New Jersey,” says Rebecca Lubot, the Governor’s STEM Scholars program director for the council. “These jobs,” she continues, “require scholars to start developing specific skill sets. The STEM Scholars program is working to solve this issue by making the thought leaders of tomorrow aware of career opportunities in government, academia and industry.”

Students in grade 10 through doctoral candidates, who have a 3.5 GPA or above, can apply at by June 15 to be considered for the following academic year. Students are required to submit a transcript, and letter of recommendation, share what areas of STEM they are interested in and write a short essay. Applicants are reviewed by academics and private-industry partners with an eye toward leadership potential, diversity in geography and background, and applicant interests.

The scholars selected to participate in the program spend the academic year attending STEM conferences, participating in team-based research projects, and networking with New Jersey STEM professionals, policymakers, educators and researchers. Teachers and industry leaders mentor the undergraduate and graduate students, who in turn mentor the high school students. The research projects are judged at the end of the program; some of the scholars get to brief legislators on their findings at the State House in Trenton.

At this year’s fifth anniversary commencement May 11 at Kean University, diplomas signed by Governor Phil Murphy will be presented to 80 scholars. Senator Cory Booker will deliver a congratulatory video, and the governor has been invited to speak.

NJIT has three scholars in this year’s cohort. “Growing the pipeline that supplies the STEM workforce is essential for economic prosperity,” says NJIT president Joel S. Bloom, Ed.D. “The Governor’s STEM Scholars Program makes an important contribution toward that effort.”

Other industry partners of the program include Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; the PSEG Foundation; and Eatontown-based Subcom, a global supplier of undersea communications systems.

Some partners are already seeing the benefits of the program. “The Governor’s STEM Scholars students are making a significant impact in their communities and leading change across New Jersey,” says Barb Short, chief diversity officer, foundation president and senior director of corporate citizenship at PSEG.

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Ørsted signs agreement to support Rutgers research on offshore wind power

Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rutgers University to support academic research related to offshore wind power, the two announced this week.

The MOU was signed through Rutgers’ Corporate Engagement Center, a joint venture of the university’s Office of Research and Economic Development and the Rutgers University Foundation.

Under the agreement, Ørsted will make an initial contribution to the university, with additional funding contingent upon its being granted approval by the state Board of Public Utilities for its Ocean Wind project, which would be the state’s first offshore wind farm.

The BPU is expected to rule on the December 2018 application in the summer.

“Rutgers University is a premiere institution that can provide us with ongoing research that will help propel the New Jersey offshore wind industry forward,” Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted, said in a prepared statement. “We are very happy to partner with them as we progress with our Ocean Wind project.”

The research being supported will be conducted at the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, part of the Department of Marine and Coastal Science.

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University Place, transformative project on Jersey City’s West Side, celebrates another milestone

They brought 10 shovels to the ceremonial groundbreaking.

They didn’t have enough.

Generations ago, that may have led to a cliché joke about Hudson County. Wednesday morning, on the West Side of Jersey City, it represented just how many officials from top companies, as well as higher education and governmental agencies, are working together to start the second phase of the transformational University Place project.

This groundbreaking was for the start of Rivet 2, which will feature 199 residential units and approximately 10,000 feet of service-oriented ground retail.

File photo
A rendering of the University Place project in Jersey City.

The unit follows the success of Rivet 1, a 163-unit luxury apartment building that opened last summer and already is more than 80 percent full.

The two buildings are part of a master plan that calls for an eight-building live-work-play (and learn) destination that will feature more than 1,000 residential units, 120,000 square feet of retail, a state-of-the-art performing arts center (which will house the Joffrey Ballet School — coming over from New York City), cafes, three upscale restaurants and plenty of green space.

For Sue Henderson, president of New Jersey City University, it is a perfect marriage of public and private interests.

“This is bringing together a real live, work and play space with a higher education and an arts component,” she told ROI-NJ. “That’s why we are calling it University Place. It is going to be a place to be — a place where the city can grow.

“As an anchor institution, you are supposed to be reaching out to your community and being part of the city. You want to be in and of your city.”

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop is certainly grateful for her exuberance.

“When you think about the transformation that’s taking place on the West Side, we’re lucky to have NJCU as an anchor,” he said. “They are very proactive, thinking about development, and we want to be partners with them.”

Many others do, as well.

The development partners were led by Hampshire Cos. (Jon and Jimmy Hanson), Claremont Cos. (Richard Sciaretta) and Circle Squared Alternative Investments (Jeffrey Sica).

They see the potential, too.

“The successful leasing of Rivet 1’s retail and residential components is a strong indicator that our vision for Jersey City’s west end is shared by residents and businesses alike,” Sciaretta said.

Rafael Perez, chair of the NJCU board of trustees, thanked them, and all of the other contributors, including Freeholder Bill O’Dea and Strategic Development Group CEO Tony Bastardi.

“The university is not equipped to do this (by ourselves),” he said. “This is a partnership.

File photo
The Rivet 1 building at Jersey City’s University Place development.

“It’s gratifying being here today — after many years — knowing what it takes to make these projects come to fruition.”

Fulop, who thanked Ward A Councilperson Denise Ridley and Ward B Councilperson Mira Prinz-Arey, along with Council President Rolando Lavarro, said the day’s event marked another day forward in the town.

Fulop, in fact, already was looking forward to future groundbreakings, including ones for Bayfront, the transformative 100-acre project one block over that is gearing up to start.

“If you think about what this place is going to look like five years from now, it’s going to be entirely different,” he said. “The RFP for the first four buildings of Bayfront should go out later this month.”

Together, he said, they will have great impact — and symbolism.

“I think the two will really complement each other,” he said. “The fact that the first Rivet is ahead of schedule is only going to serve us on Bayfront. For the people who are skeptical about whether the market can support it, or people want to be here, Rivet is a testament to a fact that it’s ‘Yes.’

“This is becoming just another Jersey City community that is changing.”

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N.J. expands free community college program to remaining six schools in state

New Jersey’s program that would make community colleges tuition-free for qualifying students has expanded to all 19 county colleges in the Garden State, the Governor’s Office has announced.

The program, which began with a pilot effort at 13 of the state’s two-year schools, will now include the remaining six for the current spring semester. They include:

  • Brookdale Community College (Monmouth County;
  • County College of Morris;
  • Essex County College;
  • Raritan Valley Community College (Somerset County);
  • Rowan College at Burlington County; and
  • Sussex County Community College.

“With this expansion, students in need at all 19 of our community colleges will have access to an education that is within financial reach and allows them to worry about their grades instead of how they will pay for school,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “We know that if our students can obtain a higher education, our communities become more prosperous, their employers become more competitive and the state economy becomes more innovative and attractive to businesses. I look forward to providing this critical opportunity to students at all 19 community colleges for the upcoming Fall and Spring semester.”

The initial program, dubbed the Community College Opportunity Grant, began in January after 13 colleges were chosen in 2018 through an application called the Community College Innovation Challenge.

“We initially pursued a pilot approach at 13 community colleges to ensure that the program costs did not exceed the funds appropriated,” Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis said in a statement. “Throughout the pilot, all 19 county colleges have been working to build capacity for the program expansion and to share learnings and best practices during implementation, with the goal of expanding in the fall.

“We are delighted to announce that we now have room to expand this opportunity even earlier than anticipated to benefit all eligible students statewide.”

Students must meet a variety of criteria to be eligible for the grant, including enrolling in at least six credits and coming from a family with an adjusted gross income of less than $45,000, as well as completing the application for federal and state financial aid. The “last-dollar” grant would cover any gap remaining between tuition and fees and the student’s other financial aid grants.

Current students at the six newly-eligible schools will be processed for potential eligibility and do not need to complete any additional application to be considered, the state said.

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Liberty Science Center names Genius honorees for 2019, unveils new Strides in STEM award

Liberty Science Center has announced the 2019 honorees at its upcoming annual “Genius Gala,” including the product designer who first proposed using the hashtag symbol on Twitter.

The Jersey City-based institution said in a news release Friday that this year’s gala will honor four Geniuses:

  • Chris Messina, who came up with the idea of marking groups on the social media platform more than a decade ago;
  • Martine Rothblatt, founder, chairwoman and CEO of United Therapeutics, creator of five FDA-approved drugs, and a pioneer in pig cloning, as well as co-founder of Sirius XM; and
  • Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, who have conducted groundbreaking research on the learning disorder.

The science center will also honor “Project Runway” host Karlie Kloss with its first-ever Strides in STEM Award, recognizing her work with her nonprofit, Kode with Klossy, which she founded in 2015 to help young women pursue their technology passions.

“Our 2019 Genius Award winners and our first-ever Strides in STEM honoree are five visionary women and men of science who are busting paradigms,” LSC CEO and President Paul Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “Each personifies what it means to be a genius and a catalyst for change; each is using his or her exceptional intellectual and creative abilities to disrupt and innovate both in their respective fields and for the betterment of humanity; and each recognizes the importance of ensuring the next generation of science and technology superstars have access to the tools they need to succeed.”

The black-tie gala will be held May 13 at the center in Jersey City, with funds raised benefiting the center’s exhibitions and programs. More than 700 industry leaders and philanthropists are expected to attend.

The corporate chairs for the event are:

  • David M. Daly, president and chief operating officer, Public Service Electric & Gas;
  • Michael J. Inserra, senior vice chair and Americas deputy managing partner, EY; and
  • Chirag Patel, co-founder and co-chairman, Amneal Pharmaceuticals.

The co-chairs are:

David Barry, CEO and president, Ironstate Development Co., and CEO and president, Urby; Sheri B. Bronstein, chief human resources officer, Bank of America; Brian Carlin, CEO, Wealth Management Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Jennifer A. Chalsty, director, advisory council, James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University; Kevin P. Conlin, chairman, CEO and president, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Michael DeMarco, CEO, Mack-Cali Realty Corp.; Matthew D. Ellis, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Verizon Communications; Joe Hand, EVP, global human resources and corporate services, Celgene Corp.; Dr. Robert J. Hariri, co-founder and vice chairman, Human Longevity Inc., and founder, chairman and CEO, Celularity Inc.; Barbara G. Koster, senior VP and chief information officer, Prudential Financial Inc.; Bruce L. Levy, CEO and president, BMR Energy; Laura Bilodeau Overdeck, founder and president, Bedtime Math, and John Overdeck, co-founder and co-Chairman, Two Sigma; Andrew Penson, founder and managing director, Argent Ventures; Carlos Rodriguez, CEO and president, ADP; and Gregory Tusar, co-founder, Tagomi.

For more information on the gala, click here.

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