South Orange's joins a list of 50 nifty New Jerseyans who have been nominated for the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012. Warwick currently resides in South Orange, though she was born and raised in East Orange.
The closest other notables nominated this year are from Newark. They include Thomas Jefferson’s Vice President and Founding Father Aaron Burr, who was born in Newark. Jazz singer Sarah Vaughn and pop songstress Connie Francis (who has had her hair done by 's Libby Christensen) are also from Newark.
Voters, who do not have to live in the state, have until Jan. 1, 2012 to learn about the nominees and pick their favorites at www.NJHallofFame.org.
Besides Burr, nominees in the historical category are Revolutionary War luminaries Thomas Paine, Richard Stockton and Molly Pitcher, activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Irene Hill Smith, the first female film director Alice Guy Blaché, rodeo star Annie Oakley and biochemist Selman Waksman.
The Arts & Entertainment Category includes actors Alan Alda, Christopher Reeve and Michael Douglas, musicians from members of The E Street Band to Celia Cruz, Connie Francis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Joe Piscopo — as well as Vaughn and Francis.
The Enterprise Category includes a diverse roster of scientists, business leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and leaders in medicine, from chef Alice Waters to publisher Samuel I. Newhouse.
Figures from the sports world are nominated in their own category. Nominees for the Class of 2012 include Coaches Bill Parcells and Bob Hurley, Giants owner Wellington Mara, and broadcasting icon Dick Vitale. Nominated athletes include basketball’s Carol Blazejowski, track star Mary Decker Slaney, football’s Milt Campbell and Rosy Grier, and baseball’s Monte Irvin (from Orange).
The largest category, General, includes educators, writers, poets, military leaders, scholars and more. The nominees this year include artists Alexander Calder, Alfred Stieglitz, Charles Addams and Thomas Nast, philanthropist Doris Duke, economist Milton Friedman, writers Joyce Carol Oates and Dorothy Parker, scholar Dorothy Porter Wesley and Gov. Tom Kean.
“We expanded our list of nominees this year because the people of New Jersey have nominated so many remarkable individuals over the past 12 months,” stated John O’Brien, Chair of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Voting Committee and Director of the New Jersey Press Foundation. “As people study the candidates and decide how to vote, they will be learning about great role models who never gave up in the pursuit of their dreams.”
The final 50 are chosen by the New Jersey Hall of Fame Voting Academy, which is comprised of approximately 100 of the state’s top organizations as well as former governors.
The NJHOF currently has an exhibit on the boardwalk in Asbury Park and plans to create a mobile museum, which will bring exhibits to schools and communities around the state. An annual essay contest is open to New Jersey students in fourth through twelfth grades.