On April 26th, 2018, WRI held its 17th Annual Walter and Leah Rand Awards and Scholarship Dinner. The event was held at The Merion, with more than 160 people in attendance. James Kehoe, President of Tonio Burgos New Jersey presented the South Jerseyan of the Year – Private Sector award to Jack Tarditi, Managing Director, Conner Strong and Buckelew. The Honorable Albert Kelly, Mayor of Bridgeton and CEO of Gateway Community Action Partnership, presented the South Jerseyan of the Year – Nonprofit Sector award to Dr. Robin Weinstein, Founder and President of the M25 Initiative. Daniel Dalton, former Senate Majority Leader and Secretary of State of New Jersey, presented the South Jerseyan of the Year – Public Sector award to the Honorable Governor James J. Florio.
The event began with a cocktail reception, where respected figures in the South Jersey community reconnected and networked with WRI students. Chair of WRI’s Advisory Board, Carolyn Heckman, welcomed the crowd and introduced Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr., who spoke about the Walter Rand Institute’s impact in the region, and recent report, “Our Piece of the Pie: The Distribution of State Funds to Municipalities Across N.J. Regions.” Phoebe Haddon, Chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden, spoke about the Institute’s impact on students and the campus, and its importance to South Jersey. After Chancellor Haddon’s remarks, WRI’s Executive Director, Darren Spielman, gave an update on the Institute including its recent growth and burgeoning impact in the fields of population health, criminal justice and safety, and community and organizational development.
Each of the honorees delivered inspirational speeches that left attendees motivated to work hard on behalf of our region.