The Jersey City Leadership Awards represent the pinnacle of excellence in the areas of service, the arts, innovation and legacy. The NJCU Foundation is pleased to honor recipients for their tremendous impact and ongoing drive to advance their areas of expertise on behalf of Jersey City.
Since its inception in 1927, New Jersey City University has been an integral part of the Jersey City community, celebrating its deep ties to the city and its interest in ensuring the city continues to thrive and grow. NJCU is honored to present this special event celebrating those whose work has positively transformed our community.
Meredith Burns, Executive Director, Art House Productions
Art House Productions was founded by Christine Goodman and sprung from the desire to connect a devastated community through art and dialogue after September 11th. Since then, the non-profit organization has established itself as a pioneer of artistic and cultural programming in Hudson County, continuing to engage, inspire, entertain and educate diverse communities through theatre, dance, comedy and the visual arts.
Meredith took over from Goodman in February 2017 and under her creative leadership Art House has celebrated many milestones such as being admitted to the NJ Theatre Alliance, 50 JC Fridays, the June ACCESS festival, the first annual comedy festival, 4 theater productions that were each given glowing reviews, 5 gallery exhibitions that brought in close to 1000 people and saw a 75% increase in art sales, the 9th annual Your Move Modern Dance Festival, and more.
Glenn D. Cunningham, Former Mayor (2001-2004), Jersey City
As a Jersey City native, Cunningham's drive to serve and improve his community was the driving force throughout his life. He was a man of firsts; as the first African American U.S Marshal for the state of New Jersey and in 2001, Cunningham made history and became the first African American to be elected Mayor of Jersey City.
His passion for education led to the creation of The Sandra and Glenn D. Cunningham Foundation which was founded shortly after he was elected as Mayor in order to positively impact the growth and advancement of students in Jersey City and Bayonne. The Foundation’s mission was to enhance the lives of highly motivated high school graduates that faced challenges to advancement. The Foundation provided financial assistance and a one-on-one mentor relationship with positive role models.
Hon. Frank J. Guarini, Former Congressman and Philanthropist
Born and raised in Jersey City, Frank Guarini’s career has been distinguished by a lifetime of service as a Congressman, Veteran and philanthropist. His deep involvement in civic affairs includes ongoing leadership on many boards of charitable, educational and cultural organizations.
Guarini’s strong belief in the transformative power of education has led to the foundation of multiple centers and institutes at Dartmouth College, New York University School of Law, St. Peter’s University, New Jersey City University and John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.
Today, as a resident of Jersey City, Mr. Guarini continues his commitment to the vitality and resiliency of Jersey City through his involvement with the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce and through major real estate development projects throughout the area.
Joseph F. Scott, Executive Vice President, Health Care Transformation, RWJBarnabas Health
Mr. Scott leads strategic planning and implementation, business development, innovation and population health for RWJBarnabas Health. Under his visionary leadership, Jersey City Medical Center was transformed and has grown to become one of the region’s most recognized health care systems with more than 35 awards and designations for quality services, diversity, patient safety, and community outreach.
As an active leader in his community he volunteers his time and has assumed several leadership positions with community organizations including the March of Dimes, the American Heart Association, and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. He serves as a Board Member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Essex, Union and Hudson counties. The Governor appointed Joe to the Board of Trustees for New Jersey City University. On a national level, Mr. Scott is Chairman of the Board of America’s Essential Hospitals and is past Chairman of the America’s Essential Hospitals Policy Committee.
Jerry Walker, New Jersey Hero
A four-time high school All American and collegiate standout, Jerry excelled as one of New Jersey’s hardest working basketball players. A product of Jersey City’s tough streets, Jerry led St. Anthony High School to four State Champions and was an integral part of the high school’s 1989 National Championship team.
After graduating from St. Anthony’s, Jerry enrolled at Seton Hall University where he earned a BA degree in Communications and led the Pirates to three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and the Big East Tournament Championship in 1992-1993. Jerry became known as one of the all-time favorite Pirates due to his tenacity and dedication. These qualities were the driving force behind a stellar collegiate career and have carried over to his work with Team Walker. When his professional basketball career came to an end, Jerry returned to his Jersey City community and founded Team Walker in 1996. Together with caring supporters and friends, Jerry, alongside his brother, Jasper, and Team Walker are proud to be making an important difference in the lives of thousands of children through academics and recreation over the past 20 years. Where he once was winning awards for his athletic talents, he now is doing the same for providing community social service.
In 2011, Jerry was named a “New Jersey Hero”, and was recently honored by Seton Hall University as for his social service in Jersey City as Entrepreneur of the Year.
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