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The Honorable Richard Codey is a former governor and Senate president who began his career in state government in 1973 when he was elected to the Assembly at age 26, becoming, at the time, the youngest person ever elected to the State Legislature. He served four Assembly terms before being elected to the State Senate in 1981. He was re-elected 11 times and recently completed his final term as State Senator in January capping an incredible political career that saw him become the longest-serving state legislator in New Jersey history.

Codey served as senate co-president from 2002 to 2004 when the upper house was evenly split 20-20 between Democratic and Republican senators. When Democrats gained the majority in 2004, he was selected senate president for the 211th, 212th and 213th legislative sessions. When Governor James E. McGreevey resigned before his term expired, Codey became the state’s 53rd governor on Nov. 16, 2004.

As a legislator, Codey advocated for better care and treatment for individuals with mental illnesses. Early in his legislative career, he exposed problems in state psychiatric hospitals when he assumed the name of a deceased convicted criminal and was hired at Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. His undercover operation received national attention and led to reforms that significantly improved the quality of care and quality of life for patients in mental health facilities.

As governor, he continued to bring the struggles of individuals with mental illness to the forefront of the public’s attention. His first official act was to establish the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health to report on the direction New Jersey should take in delivering improved services to its mentally ill. During his 14 months as governor, he was successful in implementing more than 90 percent of the task force’s recommendations. Along with his wife, Mary Jo, he launched a statewide postpartum depression awareness campaign. He also sponsored legislation that requires doctors and healthcare professionals to screen and educate all new mothers for postpartum depression. These efforts would later see the couple create The Codey Fund for Mental Health, an organization dedicated to removing the stigma of mental illness while working to improve access to high-quality care for those afflicted.

During his governorship, he also signed numerous landmark laws including the Smoke Free Air Act, GPS tracking for convicted sex offenders, and a minimum  wage increase, and played a critical role in advancing medical research and scientific progress in New Jersey. Under his watch, New Jersey became the first state to award public funds to support human embryonic stem cell research, and the first to establish a public umbilical and placental stem cell bank.

Throughout his four decades in public service, Codey has worked to make New Jersey communities and schools safer. He sponsored the nation’s first statewide assault weapons ban and childproof handgun law, and, as governor, he created a task force to examine steroid use and prevention, and sponsored bills establishing random drug testing for student-athletes and establishing training for coaches to identify the symptoms of steroid abuse. He also sponsored legislation to better protect student-athletes from sustained health effects of concussion and other brain and head injuries.

Codey has sponsored legislation reforming New Jersey’s health care laws to cut costs while protecting quality of care. He helped establish the state’s Charity Care program, which helps hospitals treat uninsured patients, and a program that provides prescription drug cost assistance for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Senator Codey was born in Orange, NJ. He is a 1981 graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University and earned an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2005 and is a member of FDU’s prestigious PINNACLE Society. He was a teacher in the East Orange public school system before joining his family’s business, Frank J. Codey & Son Funeral Directors. He was president of an insurance company for 25 years prior to selling the business in 2008.

He and his wife, the former Ms. Rolli, are the parents of two sons, Kevin and Christopher, and grandparents of Brooke Codey.

Lori Lee is an attorney with over 30 years of experience advising local governments and public-serving entities in diverse areas of operation, governance, and service to the public.  As a leader in her field, Lori Lee’s major focus is in municipal law and is a member of McCarthy Fingar LLP’s Municipal Law & Land Use and Commercial Litigation groups.

Lori Lee provides counsel to municipalities and other entities regarding various aspects of local government and corporate functions, including day-to-day operations and land use, zoning, and other real property matters. She also serves as General Counsel to the Westchester Joint Water Works. Lori Lee’s litigation experience includes the defense of determinations by various municipal boards at the trial court and appellate levels, including zoning appeals, land use decisions and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) compliance. Before joining the firm, Lori Lee served in-house as Corporation Counsel for the Village of Ossining (2011-2016). Prior to completing her law degree, she taught English and reading in middle and high school. Lori Lee brings a wide range of experience to representing her clients.

As an extremely dedicated alumnus, Lori Lee has stayed connected with FDU, attending numerous University-related events and is a Past President of the Alumni Association, an Emeritus member of the Board of Governors and a former Trustee. Lori Lee earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from FDU and her JD from St. John’s University School of Law. 

James is the founder, CEO, and Managing Partner of James D. Brown, CPA accounting firm, which prides itself on personalized, professional service. Among the firm’s clients are attorneys, physicians, entertainers, professional athletes, corporate executives, and many small and medium sized business owners. The firm has clients in 13 states and services individuals and all forms of business.

In practice for over thirty years, Brown has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA) for eleven years, serving as National Parliamentarian as well as President of NABA’s New York Chapter and Eastern Region. In addition to being a Lifetime Member of NABA, he is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the New Jersey Society of CPAs, the National Association of Tax Professionals, the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Teaneck NJ, Chamber of Commerce. James also holds the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) designations. 
James served for six years on FDU’s Alumni Board of Governors, and is a 2010 graduate of Bergen LEADS, an exciting 10-month learning and leadership adventure for aspiring and acknowledged leaders in Bergen County, NJ, and a 2012 graduate of Leadership Teaneck. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Bergen County, where he chairs the Finance Committee and previously served as Vice Chair, the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, the Advisory Board of the New York State Society of CPAs Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) Program, a Trustee of Teaneck Comes Together (TCT) and as a member of the Parks, Playgrounds, and Recreation Advisory Board for the Township of Teaneck. James has previously served as  the President of Teaneck Southern Baseball League, Treasurer of FDU’s Black Alumni Chapter, and Community Advisory Board of the FDU Educational Opportunity Fund, and as a member of the Teaneck, NJ Board of Education Textbook Review Committee.
He has been a featured speaker for the Teaneck Rotary Club, the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce, and at several local high schools and middle schools, and has been published in Ebony, Meadowlands USA,  and Black Enterprise magazines.
James and his wife Theresa reside in Teaneck, New Jersey with their two sons, Jordan and Joshua. He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting at FDU and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New Jersey.

Maroa joined BBH in 1995 as the head of the Audit department. She served as Comptroller from 2000 until 2007. Maroa was appointed Partner and assumed oversight of Operations in 2008.

Prior to joining BBH, Maroa was the general auditor at Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield and, before that, she managed the audit division of Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., with responsibilities for the global audit program of capital markets trading activities, trust, securities services, private banking, and finance. Maroa has also worked in the public accounting area of Deloitte & Touche, where she specialized in brokerage and banking institutions.

Maroa holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

Bobby Stern continues to set the bar for young FDU Alumni.

Already the youngest Silberman College Hall of Fame honoree, Stern was inducted into the PINNACLE Society last year and in 2024 becomes the first FDU Forward “Transform Our Future” honoree, not surprising given his incredible business accomplishments in his first 15 years after graduating FDU, but also his deep passion for supporting FDU’s future students and goals.

Bobby’s key to success is that he adapts his business model to meet the needs of the surrounding community. When the Covid-19 pandemic began in March of 2020, he worked with the Department for the Aging and Department of Sanitation in New York City, to safely deliver 650,000 meals a week to homebound seniors. In August 2021, the US Military tasked Bobby and his team to provide 13,000 Afghan refugees with 24/7 food services at a NJ military base. Currently Bobby and his team are providing meals to the homeless and migrants in New York City. Since 2020, Riviera Hospitality Group has served over 36 million meals and counting.

As a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson’s Silberman College of Business, Bobby strives to give back to the institution that laid his foundation as a young entrepreneur. He has invested in the next generation of FDU students with generous contributions made towards endowments and scholarships including the Uncle Billy Stern Believe and Achieve Scholarship, the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship, and the Stern Professional Development Program Student Fund.

In addition to generous donations, Bobby lends his professional expertise to FDU events and committees. In positions including Chair of Council of Alumni Engagement, Charter Day 2022 and 2023 Gala Planning Committee Member, and a 2022 Hall of Fame Gala Planning Committee Member. 

Bobby continually uses his passion for event planning to create positive alumni experiences. He helped bring from concept to reality, a yearly alumni event “Cars on the Lawn,” a curated car show of exquisite automobiles that takes place on the lawn of Hennessy Hall to raise money for the Silberman College of Business. Regarding his favorite place at FDU, the Silberman College of Business, he has presented in classes, been named one of the 50 Under 50 Alumni Business Leaders, sits on the current Executive Board of Advisors, and most recently was inducted into the College’s Hall of Fame. 

Whether it is a luxury client, unprecedented emergency, or an FDU event, Bobby continues to be at the forefront of innovation in the catering and event industry.

Schwamb was born on July 14, 1939 – French Independence Day (“Bastille Day”) – and spent over 30 years of his career working for international companies based out of Switzerland and Germany well before the term “global economy” became a staple term of American business.

After joining Bloomingdale’s Executive Training program upon graduation from FDU in 1962, Schwamb spent seven years there before joining Swiss-owned Spinnerin Yarn Company as Vice President of their Sport and Ski apparel division. This would lead to an association with Bogner of America, based out of Munich, Germany, in 1973. His first role was as Eastern Sales Manager for the innovative, family-owned company who was at the time, were the world’s leading producer of high-end fashion ski, tennis and golf apparel.

Schwamb would go on to spend over 25 years with Bogner, moving up the ladder to National Sales Manager and Executive Vice President of Marketing before retiring in 2000 as its Chief Operating Officer. While working with Bogner, Schwamb in 1982 became the managing partner of the first franchised Callahan’s Hot Dogs location in New Jersey, a legendary staple of the Garden State for decades.

Besides his family, one of Schwamb’s greatest loves has been the FDU men’s basketball program. He began playing basketball at age 11 and went on to have a Hall of Fame career on championships teams at Cliffside High School which led to a basketball scholarship to FDU in 1958. He has remained an ardent and passionate supporter of the program since his graduation.

The eldest of two children, his family owned The Maple House, a legendary upscale North Jersey furniture store and he developed a love of music from his mother and of fishing from his father. His grandmother owned an ice cream parlor in Jersey City and his maternal grandfather was a diamond cutter in New York’s famous diamond district. He has traced his family roots back to 1538 in Germany.

He met his wife JoAnn (Cusanelli) in 1957 and the high school sweethearts have been married for over 60 years. Together they raised three children – Stephen, Wendy and Tracy.

Besides his volunteer work on behalf of FDU, where he was recognized in 2015 as its “Volunteer of the Year,” Schwamb has stayed busy in retirement giving back to his communities. He is a member of the Park Ridge, NJ Planning Board, currently serving as Chairman and spent five years as co-chairman of the Park Ridge Open Space committee. He spent 14 years as Vice President of Bears Nest Board of Directors and 20 years a co-chair of the landscape committee.

An avid tennis and golf player, he also enjoys boating and fishing and has been a long-time member of the Hackensack Golf Club and the Long Beach Island Yacht and Tennis Club.

Not surprisingly, given his long ties to international businesses, he loves to travel with family and friends. Besides seeing nearly all of Europe he has also visited Australia, New Zealand, Grenadines, St. Croix, Jamaica, Japan, Macao and the Dominican Republic as well as extensive travels across North America.

As the founder and Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers, a non-profit 501c(3), Kissane was instrumental in developing, introducing, and passing the Safe Schools Resource Officer Training Law. A certified New Jersey Police Instructor, he has been teaching the Police Training Commission (PTC) SRO/Liaison Training Course for the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers over the past 16 years. Since the inaugural class, he has instructed Law Enforcement/School Relations as part of the School Safety Specialist Certification for the New Jersey Department of Education Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning (OSPEP).

With over 30 years of experience in public safety, Patrick Kissane is recognized as an expert in school safety and schoolrelated policing.

The firm has developed a reputation as a specialist in tax planning, business advisory services, litigation support and forensic accounting. Tim is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on a variety of accounting, tax, audit and business topics. Many fortune 500 companies as well as many national associations regularly feature Tim as their keynote speaker. Among the more noteworthy positions that Tim holds, he is the National Director and Editor-inChief for the world’s largest accounting and tax training program, the Becker Gearty CPE professional program. Tim has frequently been called upon over the past twentyfive years to present accounting, tax, auditing and business topics to large groups, organizations, and corporations, accounting firms and in legal proceedings.

Tim is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is also a member of the New Jersey Society of Public Accountants and has been a trustee of the organization. Tim is also a member of the New Jersey and American Bar Associations. Tim holds a BS in Accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University where he was inducted into their Hall of Fame, and both an MBA in Finance and a Law Degree (JD) from Seton Hall University.

Paying it forward and making it count

Tim Gearty’s family, friends, colleagues, and especially his students will attest to his dedication to mentorship and education. Introduced by his daughters, Kristi and Julie, here is Tim Gearty’s induction into The Pinnacle Society at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Follow your heart, but make sure you’re willing to work.

Your investment in an FDU education will never depreciate.

Inspired by her grandmother, who owned a restaurant in Liberia, Adenah is now the owner of 8 restaurants including 4 IHOP franchises in northern New Jersey. She opened her first IHOP in Irvington Township, New Jersey at the age of 27, making her one of the youngest franchisees in the country at that time. In late 2017, Adenah launched Cornbread, her first independent fast casual, farm-to-table, soul food restaurant, which she co-founded with fellow entrepreneur, Zadie B. Smith. They recently opened their second location in downtown Newark, and a third in Brooklyn, NY. Additionally, in keeping with Adenah’s mission of bringing high quality food and services to urban communities, in the summer of 2021 she launched her latest restaurant concept, Urban Vegan, in downtown Newark.

In addition to her restaurants, Adenah is a successful real estate developer with a portfolio of several major residential and mixed-use urban redevelopment projects across northern New Jersey, including the former Irvington General Hospital site, and several other urban locations. Most recently, she was awarded a 9% NJHMFA affordable housing credit for her 100% affordable, 40-unit property located in Newark’s Southward, making her the first black woman developer in the US to accomplish the feat.

Despite her numerous successes as a restaurateur, real estate developer, and philanthropist, Adenah’s proudest achievement is being a mother to her 2 children.