The New Jersey Hall of Fame was created “to honor citizens who have made invaluable contributions to society and the world beyond. The Hall of Fame reinforces the message to children that they can and should strive for excellence in any endeavor of their choosing,” according to its website (www.njhalloffame.org).
Fifty individuals have been nominated for the fifth class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Thomas Nast is not the only figure some people would consider controversial. For example, nominee Aaron Burr served as Thomas Jefferson’s vice president but he will always be remembered for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
Nast is not even the only cartoonist. Also nominated is Charles Addams, whose characters became known as The Addams Family and inspired two television shows, three movies and a Broadway musical.
Some of the other nominees are actors Alan Alda and Michael Douglas; singers Connie Francis and Dionne Warwick; jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie; President Grover Cleveland; football great Roosevelt Grier; photographer Alfred Stieglitz; writers Dorothy Parker and Joyce Carol Oates; and Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman.
Anyone may nominate an individual to the New Jersey Hall of Fame. A panel approves a list which is then submitted to Hall of Fame Voting Academy, a group of more than 100 of the most prominent organizations throughout the state. The Academy votes to narrow the field to 10 individuals in each category.
The Board of Commissioners prepares and votes on a final list for the public vote. The nominees are announced in September of each year. The public votes through the Hall of Fame website.
Following the certification of the public vote, the New Jersey Hall of Fame inducts the top vote getter in each category, as well as one or two others as the board deems deserving.