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NJHS hosts Annual Gala


The New Jersey Historical Society will honor John Whitehead, Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Mrs. John W. Pyne, benefactor of New Jersey arts and culture, and PSEG on their 100th anniversary during their annual gala, “History in the Making,” to be held on Thursday, October 23, 2003 at the Pleasantdale Château in West Orange, NJ at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s honorees share extensive histories as longtime supporters of history and the arts in New Jersey.

Whitehead, who was raised in Montclair, NJ, is currently Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, where he oversees re-development efforts in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. A former Co-Chairman and Senior Partner at Goldman, Sachs, & Co., Whitehead was asked to become Deputy Secretary of State – number two to George Shultz – in 1985. Since leaving Washington, Whitehead has been active in many educational, civic, and charitable organizations. He has served as chairman of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the United Nations Association and is chairman emeritus of the Brookings Institution.

Whitehead, a New York resident and former chairman of the board of The New Jersey Historical Society, has remained a proud advocate for New Jersey and has continued to support efforts to preserve and interpret its rich and diverse history.

“John is a long-time friend of the Historical Society,” said Sally Yerkovich, President & CEO of The New Jersey Historical Society. “He understands the significance of our collections and shares our commitment to using these collections to educate the children of Newark and New Jersey.”

Mrs. John W. Pyne, fondly known as “Princess” Pyne by many, is a dedicated benefactor of New Jersey arts and culture. A resident of Far Hills, NJ, Mrs. Pyne’s passion for the arts and culture has led her to dedicate over 50 years of community service to charitable organizations throughout the state. She has volunteered with many organizations over the years, including the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills, the Somerset Medical Center Foundation, The Newark Museum, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and The New Jersey Historical Society.

PSEG’s history is rooted in its company motto: “to make New Jersey a better place to work and live.” A tragic trolley accident and the absence of enforced safety standards inspired Thomas Nesbitt McCarter to establish a single company that would consolidate and strengthen the small gas and electric providers that dotted New Jersey. Since then, PSEG’s dedication to Newark and New Jersey has never wavered. It reaffirmed its commitment to Newark in the 1970s when it decided to stay in the city rather than follow other companies to the suburbs. In the 21st century, PSEG actively participates in partnerships to revitalize and support Newark’s renaissance, as well as many other New Jersey urban initiatives.

“PSEG employs thousands of individuals who have consistently worked to provide New Jersey citizens with a better quality of life,” said Yerkovich. “It is only fitting that we would honor that kind of collective commitment during the same year that PSEG celebrates its 100 years of history as a dedicated business partner and neighbor in the community.”

This year’s Gala Corporate Chair is Albert R. Gamper, Jr., Chairman and CEO of the New Jersey-based CIT Group, one of the world’s leading diversified finance organizations. Gamper, who has served as President of CIT since 1989, also serves as Chairman of the Board of Saint Barnabas Health Care System and Director of Public Service Enterprise Group, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and WNET/Channel 13.

Senior Anchor for New Jersey Network Kent Manahan will serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. For over two and a half decades, Kent has been reporting on the events and issues that affect the residents of New Jersey. Over the years, her work has been honored with many awards, including five Emmys, the New York International Film Festival Award and the prestigious Scripps Howard Journalism Award.

The gala will be held at the historic Pleasantdale Château at 757 Eagle Rock Avenue in West Orange, NJ, a property formerly used as a summer weekend retreat by Dr. Charles W. Nichols of Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation. The Château was later re-designed as a permanent residence and is now used as a banquet facility and conference center.

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