General Business

NJ Hall of Fame Announces Incoming 2021 Class of Inductees

The New Jersey Hall of Fame (NJHOF) announced its 2021 class of inductees, highlighting some of the state’s best and brightest.

The list showcases the depth and variety of talent of the Garden State, ranging from founding father Alexander Hamilton to punk rock icon Patti Smith and her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye. Other inductees include dynamic businesswoman Louise Scott, famed photographer Dorothea Lange, Baseball Hall of Famer Monte Irvin and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The 13th annual induction ceremony will once again be a virtual event as it was last year, in an abundance of caution amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. It will be broadcast on My9NJ on Saturday, October 16, Sunday, October 17, Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24, as well as on NJ PBS, radio and prominent social media platforms, bringing the event closer than ever to the public. The Class of 2021’s Unsung Hero will be announced in early October.

“We asked New Jerseyans to help choose the next class of heroes and they delivered,” says Jon F. Hanson, chairman of the NJHOF. “We are honored to celebrate the lives and contributions of these notable New Jersey luminaries and greats.”

The New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2021 is:

Arts & Letter

  • 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 Company

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, U.S. Army four-star general/COO 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 (NFL) analyst

*Being honored posthumously.

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

In the case of someone who has been selected for the Hall in a previous year, but not inducted due to not being able to attend that year’s ceremony, the NJHOF may add to the current list of inductees for this year. If so, an announcement will be made in September.

The 23 inductees in the five categories were chosen out of 50 nominees after a public vote during the month of May.

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