Steven Perskie, a former state senator, New Jersey Casino Control Commission chair and retired Superior Court judge, will receive the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to New Jersey public life at the Hughes Center Honors, it was announced Monday.
Other honorees include:
- Distinctive Alumni Leadership Award: Richard Dovey, president of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority;
- Distinctive Student Leadership Award: Danielle Combs, a recent Stockton University graduate;
- Excellence in Community Leadership Award: Four South Jersey hospitals are being recognized for their efforts in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hughes Center Honors are awarded for professional excellence and a commitment to public service, civility and bipartisanship, which reflect the life and career of William J. Hughes, who served as U.S. ambassador to Panama and as a U.S. representative for 20 years.
The ticketed event, which is open to the public, will start at 5:30 p.m. in the campus center on Stockton’s Galloway campus.
Edward Salmon, chairman of the Hughes Center Steering Committee, said Perskie is well deserving of the honor.
“Steve Perskie’s many contributions have helped shape the history of Atlantic City, the casino industry and all of New Jersey,” he said. “His commitment to public service represents the civic values that guide the work of the Hughes Center and Stockton University.”
Stockton President Harvey Kesselman agreed.
“We are truly honored to recognize these leaders who have had a profound positive impact on Stockton and who have improved the lives of members of their communities,” he said.
Past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include the late former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, former Govs. Thomas Kean, Jim Florio and Christine Todd Whitman, and the late Hughes, who was presented his award in 2017 by then-former Vice President Joe Biden.
Perskie was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly in 1971 at age 26, and, in 1978, he moved up to the state Senate, where he served as majority leader and chaired the prestigious Judiciary Committee. He was the author and principal sponsor of the New Jersey Casino Control Act (1977), which brought casino gaming to Atlantic City. He served as chief of staff to Florio in 1989-1990, after which Florio appointed him as chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, a position he held until 1994. Perskie led a comprehensive restructuring and refocus of the commission and its agenda.
A public defender early in his law career, Perskie served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge from 1982 to 1989, when he temporarily left the bench for the Florio administration. He returned to Superior Court from 2002-2010 and served in the Civil Division and as presiding judge of the Family and Criminal divisions. In 2007, Perskie mediated the resolution of the Tropicana garage collapse litigation, which involved more than 50 parties and claims totaling more than $100 million.