Doctor of Humane Letters
Richard J. Codey
Acting Governor of New Jersey
Some men choose to distinguish themselves by their titles, but your lifelong career in public service has been defined by a noble and ardent engagement with the people of New Jersey.
You grew up in a family of simple means. The son of an undertaker, you confronted early the realities of death and suffering, and you quickly grew into a man of steady strength and compassion. Those traits have served you well throughout your career.
Elected to the New Jersey Legislature as an assemblyman at the age of 26, you were the youngest state legislator ever to take office. You served three decades in the state Legislature, rising steadily in stature and respect, and were elected Senate president in 2004. During your years in office, you earned a reputation as a leading advocate for health and mental health issues, consumer protections, public safety, education, and the rights of women, minorities and workers.
Most recently you accepted the challenge of leading your state in a time of unexpected transition. Your characteristic passion and integrity are constantly on display, building foundations for the state’s future.
Yet as prominent as your public life has become, your official duties have never compromised your commitment as a devoted husband and father. You have been a loving and supportive companion to your wife through serious bouts of illness. Together you have spoken openly about these life-changing subjects to educate and inform the public. As the involved father of two sons you have been a constant force in the lives of your “beloved boys.”
Known as a skillful leader who brings people together to achieve bipartisan goals, your colleagues describe you as “an independent thinker,” and “a champion of change to benefit the public good.” Numerous groups have recognized you for your contributions to the state and to the people of New Jersey, and you have been awarded “Legislator of the Year” many times. A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, you have brought us great pride, making it a special privilege to honor you today as our beloved son.
Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Fairleigh Dickinson University, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities thereunto attached, and cause you to be invested with the hood appropriate to that degree.