Commencement Honoree FULL

Richard J. Codey

Acting Governor -- State of New Jersey

Acting Governor Richard J. Codey represents the 27th legislative district in Essex County, which includes the towns of Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Maplewood, North Caldwell, Orange, Roseland, South Orange, West Orange, and part of the City of Newark.

Though he is a lifelong Democrat, Acting Governor Codey has earned a reputation as a skillful leader who brings people together to achieve bipartisan goals. He is known among his colleagues as an independent thinker, and a champion of change to benefit the public good. Numerous organizations and associations have recognized Acting Governor Codey over the years for his contributions to the State and to the people of New Jersey, awarding him "Legislator of the Year" many times over.

A Life of Public Service

Acting Governor Codey was first elected to the State Legislature as an Assemblyman in 1973, at the age of 26. At that time, Codey was the youngest legislator ever elected in New Jersey.

Codey was re-elected three times to the Assembly, where he chaired the State Government Committee for six years and played a central role in the development of New Jersey's Casino Control Act, which established the first legal gambling casinos in the country outside of Nevada.

After winning his first Senate term in 1981, Acting Governor Codey quickly 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 New Jersey workers.

After serving three decades in the State Legislature, Acting Governor Codey was selected Senate President for the 211th Legislative Session beginning January 13, 2004. During the previous legislative session, Codey served as Senate Co-President, due to an unusual 20-20 split between Republican and Democratic senators that session. Codey also served as Senate minority leader from 1998-2002, and served as Acting Governor for several days in 2002.

A Family Man at Heart

Acting Governor Codey enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his sixth grade traveling basketball team and attending the games of his favorite college team, Seton Hall. Codey is a devoted husband and father and resides in West Orange with his wife, Mary Jo, and their two sons, Kevin and Christopher.

Acting Governor Codey is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Honoree Codey FULL

Doctor of
Humane Letters