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NJIT Names Honorees for Gala Celebration 2016; Singer-Actress Vanessa Williams to Headline November 11 Event

Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams

Newark, NJ, October 30, 2016 — Celebration 2016, the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) annual fundraiser for campuswide scholarship endowment funds, will be held Nov. 11 at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange.

The event will be headlined by Vanessa Williams, Emmy Award- and Tony Award-nominated actor and singer and 1983 Miss America.

Since its inception in 1995, Celebration has raised nearly $5 million in endowed scholarship funds, ensuring that top-quality higher education is accessible to talented, motivated students.

The event, a festive evening of dinner and dancing, traditionally attracts approximately 300 attendees including senior executives, outstanding alumni and friends of the university.

Along with raising funds, Celebration also is an occasion to recognize important friends and graduates of the university.

Five honorees, including three alumni, will be recognized this year.

  • Raymond J. McGowan ’64, retired executive vice president at ExxonMobil Chemical, will receive the President’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement, for his leadership at the university and for his support, including two endowed scholarships. A former member of the NJIT NEXT Leadership Council, McGowan has previously received the Alumni Achievement Award, the Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement and the Outstanding Alumni Award.
  • Known as one of the top engineers in New Jersey, Theodore D. Cassera ’72, executive vice president at Bowman Consulting Group, will receive the Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement, given to an alumnus in recognition of outstanding professional and civic accomplishments, as well as support of the university. Cassera established a family scholarship in 2006. He is a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and has supported the student chapter’s Beta Alpha house in the new Greek Village.
  • With a career that led her from teaching in the Newark public schools to receiving an MBA from NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management in 2005 to becoming president and CEO of MZM Construction Co., Inc., Marjorie A. Perry ’05 will receive the University Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership to recognize her as an outstanding entrepreneur. She also is a dedicated adjunct faculty member and alumni leader at NJIT. Currently Co-Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Overseers of NJIT, she also has served on the Martin Tuchman School of Management’s Board of Visitors.
  • Joseph M. Taylor ’11 HON, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, will receive the Special Friend of the University Award. A member of the NJIT Board of Trustees and an honorary degree recipient, he has had a 20-year association with NJIT through programs he helped develop, ranging from academic competitions to scholarships.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. will receive the Outstanding Corporate Partner Award for its partnership in working with NJIT to pilot and fund the health IT Entrepreneurial Connection Program, which targets growth-stage health care IT entrepreneurs to accelerate the development of innovative products and services.

For information on purchasing event tickets, raffle tickets and journal advertisements for the Nov. 11 gala, visit: www.njit.edu/celebration.

About NJIT

One of the nation’s leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills.

With an enrollment of 11,400 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cybersecurity, in addition to others.

NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $121 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey.