Irvin, Nash, Hamilton among those selected for N.J. Hall of Fame

It’s New Jersey, so you know the Hall of Fame inductees are going to feature entertainers, including musicians from a variety of genres (Sarah Dash, Patti Smith and George Benson), star athletes (Monte Irvin) and a performer (Buddy Hackett … ask your parents if you don’t know).

There are public servants from the past and the present, including William Paterson, who signed the U.S. Constitution, was the second governor of the state and an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. And Gustave Perna, an Army four-star general who serves as chief operating officer of the federal COVID-19 response.

Business leaders, including Sara Spencer Washington and Louise Scott, believed to be two of the state’s first Black female millionaires.

And there are two who gained new-found notoriety after they became part of pop culture: John Nash, the famed Princeton mathematician who was featured in the 2001 film, “A Beautiful Mind,” and Alexander Hamilton, a founding father figure in U.S. history who was rediscovered after a play bearing his name hit it big on Broadway: “Hamilton.”

These are just some of the 23 inductees in the five categories who were chosen out of 50 nominees after a public vote during the month of May for a spot in the 13th class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame, which was created in 2008.

The honorees, who will be inducted virtually Oct 16, will push the total number enshrined to more than 200.

NJHOF Chairman Jon Hanson, the chairman of Hampshire Cos. and himself an inductee, thanked the public for helping select the inducteers.

“We asked New Jerseyans to help choose the next class of heroes and they delivered,” he said. “We are honored to celebrate the lives and contributions of these notable New Jersey luminaries and greats.”

Here’s the list:

Arts & Letters

  • Dorothea Lange*, Hoboken, documentary photographer
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh*, Englewood, author and aviator
  • John Forbes Nash Jr.*,Princeton, mathematician
  • Gay Talese, Ocean City, writer and journalist


  • Madeline McWhinney Dale*, Middletown, first female officer/vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank
  • Madam Louise Scott*, Newark, founder of Scott School of Beauty Culture & chain of beauty salons
  • Paul Volcker*,Teaneck, 12th chair of the Federal Reserve
  • Sara Spencer Washington*, Atlantic City, founder of Apex News and Hair Co.

Performing Arts

  • George Benson, Englewood, jazz guitarist, singer and songwriter
  • Sarah Dash, Trenton, award-winning vocalist who co-founded Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles
  • Lesley Gore*, Tenafly, singer, songwriter, actress and activist
  • Buddy Hackett*, Fort Lee, actor and comedian
  • Patti Smith, Pitman/Deptford Township, & Lenny Kaye, New Brunswick, legendary singer-songwriter and her longtime guitarist who were part of the New York City punk rock movement in the 1970s
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter**, Princeton, country music singer

Public Service

  • Margaret Bancroft*, Haddonfield, founder of Bancroft, nonprofit serving individuals with disabilities
  • Alexander Hamilton*, Elizabeth, founding father and first secretary of the treasury
  • David Mixner, Elmer, political activist and author
  • William Paterson*, South Branch, signer of the U.S. Constitution, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and 2nd governor of New Jersey
  • Gustave F. Perna, Rockaway, Army four-star general/chief operating officer of the federal COVID-19 response
  • Antonin Scalia*, Trenton, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1986 until his death in 2016


  • Val Ackerman, Pennington, first president of the Women’s National Basketball Association
  • Monte Irvin*, Orange, left and right fielder in the Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball who played with the Newark Eagles, New York Giants and Chicago Cubs
  • Ron Jaworski, Voorhees, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and National Football League analyst

* Being honored posthumously.

** Previous inductee,but being formally inducted this year.