October 30, 2015

NJCU’s Black Alumni, Administrators, Faculty, Students and Staff Organization to Honor Three Outstanding Leaders at 40th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 13

New Jersey City University’s Black Alumni, Administrators, Faculty, Students and Staff Organization (BAAFSSO) will celebrate its 40th anniversary and honor three distinguished leaders on Friday, November 13, 2015, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Michael B. Gilligan Student Union on the NJCU Main Campus at 2039 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City.
Three special awards will be presented at the celebration, “Beyond the 40th: A legacy of Courage, A Commitment to Action.”
  • Karol Corbin Walker, Esq. ’80, Shareholder and Member, Board of Directors, LeClairRyan, will be honored with the BAAFSSO Distinguished Alumna Award.
  • Michellene Davis, Esq., Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Barnabas Health, will receive the BAAFSSO Corporate Leadership Award.
  • The Late Clement Alexander Price, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History, Rutgers University, will be honored posthumously with the BAAFSSO Pioneer Award.
A.J. Calloway, Emmy Award-winning New York City correspondent for NBC-TV’s "EXTRA," will emcee the event. A New Jersey native, Mr. Calloway is widely known for his interviews with celebrities, athletes, and notables around the world.  “EXTRA” was recognized with an Emmy Award in 2014 for “Outstanding Entertainment New Program.”
Valarie Adams and The Dimension Band, a premier dance, funk, and R&B band, will provide entertainment to cap the evening.  
“BAAFSSO has been an invaluable resource at the University for four decades, offering NJCU scholarships and programming that have enriched the lives of our students as well as the local community,” Dr. Sue Henderson, NJCU president, said.  “This 40th anniversary celebration is a testament to the organization’s success.”   
“As president of NJCU, I am proud to honor three outstanding leaders who have distinguished themselves greatly,” she added.   “Ms. Walker, Ms. Davis, and the late Dr. Price have all valued education and have shared an enduring commitment to helping others achieve a higher education and then successful, meaningful careers.”
Proceeds from BAAFSSO’s Beyond the 40th Anniversary Celebration will benefit student scholarships and programs at NJCU.  Leaders in the fields of business and industry, health care, education, public service, and the non-profit community will be among the guests celebrating the three honorees at the event.
            For further information about NJCU’s BAAFSSO 40th Anniversary Celebration call 201-200-3568 or visit www.njcu.edu/baafsso40.
Karol Corbin Walker, Esq. ‘80
Karol Corbin Walker, a Jersey City native, is a proud alumna of New Jersey City University who, in 1980, with her mother Jeanette Corbin, graduated with honors from New Jersey City University.  Ms. Walker has built an impressive reputation in the State’s legal community. Her legal career is one that has been marked with a series of "firsts."
Ms. Walker is a Shareholder, and Board of Directors Member of the national law firm of LeClairRyan, and is resident in its New Jersey Office.  In 1995 Ms. Walker became the first African-American woman to attain Partner status at any major New Jersey law firm.
She is a litigator with trial experience in the State and Federal Courts.  Ms. Walker has argued many cases before the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  She has also argued cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Walker represents clients in business, commercial, employment, environmental, toxic tort, and products liability litigation matters.  Over the years, Ms. Walker’s clients have included many Fortune 500 corporations as well as other publicly and privately held corporations, financial institutions, entertainers, and insurance companies.
Annually, since New Jersey Monthly Magazine initiated its ranking of attorneys, Ms. Walker has been listed as one of its “Super Lawyers,” and in recent years as one of the top 50 women lawyers in New Jersey.  She has also been recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America,” from 2006 through the present.
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has certified and appointed Ms. Walker as an arbitrator and a mediator. The New Jersey Supreme Court has appointed Ms. Walker to several committees including: Committee on Judicial Evaluation, Committee on Civil Practice, Committee on Character, Committee on District Fee Arbitration, and Committee on the Tax Court.
In August 2015, she was the first New Jersey attorney appointed as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (SCFJ).  Ms. Walker had served as the Third Circuit representative to this committee since 2013, and was the first of color attorney in New Jersey to serve in this capacity.  The SCFJ consists of 15 members who vet every Federal District and Circuit prospective judicial candidate pre-nomination, and every Supreme Court Justice post-nomination.
In June 2015, Ms. Walker was installed as the first African-American president of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey.  In August 2012, Ms. Walker became president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP).  She was the first African-American female president of NCBP, and was the second attorney in the organization’s history to be elected to this position from New Jersey in 29 years.
In 2003, Ms. Walker became the first African-American president in the then 105-year history of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA). She served as the NJSBA president for the 2003-2004 term.  In 1998, she was the first African American appointed as chair of the NJSBA’s most prestigious Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
From 1991 through 1993, Ms. Walker was president of the Garden State Bar Association.
In 2003, NJBIZ recognized Ms. Walker as one of New Jersey’s top 25 Women of Influence.  In 1999, Business News New Jersey recognized Ms. Walker as one of New Jersey’s Top 20 African American Business People.
Ms. Walker has never forgotten her community roots.  Despite a demanding schedule, she has provided pro bono services, representing mothers in parental termination cases at both the Trial Court and Appellate Division levels, and has provided free legal services for senior citizens.  Ms. Walker is a mentor to many attorneys and a frequent speaker at New Jersey elementary schools, high schools, colleges and law schools.
In 1986, Ms. Walker received her Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law.  She had previously served there as an adjunct faculty member.
She is an active member of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Morristown, where she has been a Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults Team member since 1994, and a Eucharistic Minister since 1995.  Ms. Walker resides in Morris Township with her husband Paul.
Michellene Davis, Esq.
Michellene Davis, Esq., Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs of New Jersey’s largest healthcare system, Barnabas Health, directs the system’s strategic policy decisions and enhances the system’s position with state and federal elected officials and agencies.  She oversees corporate communications, community partnerships, external affairs, policy and government affairs, healthy living and community wellness, and marketing and public relations.
Ms. Davis is the first woman and first person of color to serve as an Executive Vice President in the system’s history.
Named to NJBIZ Magazine’s Health Care Power 50 list in 2015, and ranked by NJBIZ as the State of New Jersey’s top lobbyist in the healthcare industry and by PolitickerNJ as one of the most politically powerful people in the State of New Jersey, Ms. Davis has served in several high-ranking statewide political appointment positions.
Prior to joining Barnabas Health, Ms. Davis served as Chief Policy Counsel to former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, the first African American to serve in this role. Previously, Ms. Davis served as New Jersey’s Acting State Treasurer.  The first African American and one of only a few women to hold this position, she was responsible for a state budget of over $30 billion, a department of over 6,500 people, and a state pension investment portfolio of over $70 billion.  As Acting Treasurer, Ms. Davis established the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Office of Supplier Diversity and Division of Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses.  Previously, she led the $2.4 billion New Jersey Lottery as Executive Director and CEO and served as a senior policy advisor in the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
Ms. Davis, who began her legal career as a trial litigator, is an Honors graduate of Seton Hall University and holds a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall School of Law.
Passionately active in her civic community, she serves as: a member of the Board of Governors of Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden; Chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of Essex County College; Trustee of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association; Secretary to the Board of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation; a member of the Sacred Heart University Board of Visitors in Stamford, CT; and President-elect of the Executive Women of New Jersey.
She also sits on the Corporate Advisory Board of the Boys and Girls Club of New Jersey, and the Board of Directors of the Caucus Educational Trust, and is a member of the Seton Hall Law School Diversity Council, the Association of Black Women Lawyers, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Garden State Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.
Through her non-profit organizations, Daddy’s Sons and Daughters Mentoring Association and We are F.I.T. (Families in Training), Ms. Davis mentors young men and women.  At Barnabas Health, she established the Barnabas Health Women’s Leadership Alliance to inspire and empower women through personal and professional resources and development opportunities in order to advance women’s leadership in the Barnabas Health organization and beyond.
Ms. Davis has received national and statewide recognition for her dedication and career accomplishments, including being named the 2015 LUPE Amiga of the Year, 2014 Business Advocate of the Year by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and one of The Network Journal’s 2014 Top 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business.  She has been honored with numerous awards, including the New Jersey State NAACP 2013 Distinguished Legal Professional Award, Coalition of 100 Black Women of Bergen/Passaic County’s 2013 Trailblazer in Healthcare Award, the 2012 Executive Women of New Jersey Policymaker Award, the 2012 Stand and Deliver Martin Luther King Leadership Award, the 2012 Essex County Coretta Scott King Leadership Award, the YWMCA 2012 Living Legends Award, the 2011 New Jersey Speaker of the Assembly Shirley Chisholm Health Award, the 2011 New Jersey Primary Care Association Women’s Health Care Week Award, and The Network Journal’s “Forty under 40” Award.
The Late Clement Alexander Price, Ph.D.
The late Dr. Clement Alexander Price was an intellectual giant and revered scholar who devoted himself to the betterment of public life at the local level, throughout the State of New Jersey, and across the nation. 
His work and actions inspired many.  His achievements were many.  His work continues through organizations like NJCU’s BAAFSSO which celebrate his unflagging spirit, his dedication to education, his love of the arts and humanities, and his steadfast commitment to social justice.  
A distinguished professor at Rutgers University-Newark, Dr. Price was considered the foremost authority on African-American New Jersey history.  He was named Newark city historian in 2014. 
Dr. Price was a respected advisor to leaders at Rutgers and other institutions of higher learning, and at all levels of government.  He chaired President Barack Obama's 2008 transition team for the National Endowment for the Humanities and was appointed vice chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 2011.
In 1969, Dr. Price began teaching history at Rutgers-Newark.  He was appointed Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor in 2002, one of the university’s highest faculty honors.  He also served as director of The Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, which he founded in 1997 as a campus-based, community-oriented center for the public arts and humanities, committed to critical thinking and creativity in civic life. The Institute is considered a model of public scholarship and engagement.
At Rutgers, Dr. Price taught undergraduate and graduate courses that spanned U.S. history. He served as a visiting professor at a number of universities, including NJCU, Princeton, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Seton Hall.
Dr. Price and the late Giles Wright co-founded the annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series, the oldest, largest and most prestigious Black History Month event in New Jersey.
His many other leadership roles included the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Fund for New Jersey, the Save Ellis Island Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Newark Education Trust, the advisory council for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Scholarly Advisory Committee to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Dr. Price was the recipient of many awards for academic and community service, including New Jersey Professor of the Year by The Council for Advancement and Support of Education in 1999. 
His book, Not Far Distant: A Documentary History of Afro-Americans in New Jersey, and his many other scholarly works explore African-American history, race relations and modern culture in the United States and New Jersey.
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1945, he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Bridgeport, and went on to become one of the first black scholars to earn a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Dr. Price died unexpectedly on November 5, 2014.  He is survived by his wife Mary Sue Sweeney Price, retired director of The Newark Museum.
In the fall of 1975, a group of people with a vision held organizational meetings to establish the Black Alumni, Administrators, Faculty, Students and Staff Organization (BAAFSSO). Led by its principal founders—the late Dr. Lee Hagan, Phil Littlejohn, Samuel McGhee, the late John Raines, Rosetta Rutledge, Sandra Stothoff, and Ann Tisdale— BAAFSSO arose out of an expressed need for a more comprehensive representation of Blacks at then Jersey City State College. Diverse leadership has characterized the organization’s strength, providing a rich cross-fertilization of ideas, opinions and perceptions. Sandra Stothoff, a former secretary to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Melvin Gregory, a former counselor in the Opportunity Scholarship Program, hold the distinction of having served as first leaders.
For four decades, BAAFSSO has endeavored in a variety of ways to achieve its goals. BAAFSSO believes that retention is a by-product of improved educational programs and services. The achievements of our students are recognized through an annual program held in honor of Black graduates. The active participation of its members has allowed BAAFSSO to implement initiatives and develop programs and activities which meet the needs of its community while promoting the University’s goals of recruitment, retention, academic excellence, student engagement, and faculty and staff development.
ABOUT New Jersey City University (NJCU)
The mission at New Jersey City University (NJCU) is to provide a diverse population with an excellent education.
The University is committed to the improvement of the educational, intellectual, cultural, socioeconomic, and physical environment of the surrounding urban region and beyond.  Established in 1927 as a training school for teachers, today NJCU is among the most comprehensive universities in the state.  Located in Jersey City, NJ, and minutes from New York City, NJCU's fully accredited Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, and Professional Studies, and School of Business offer 43 undergraduate degree programs and 27 master’s programs and 2 doctoral programs, including emerging and interdisciplinary fields.
NJCU students engage in rigorous applied-learning experiences that include opportunities to study abroad, and cooperative education internships.  NJCU operates two additional campus sites—NJCU School of Business at Harborside Plaza 2 in Jersey City’s financial district and NJCU at Brookdale in Wall Township in Monmouth County.
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