NJ Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Class of Honorees

The 13th annual induction ceremony will be conducted virtually this October.

From left: Madam Louise Scott; Alexander Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton won’t be in the room when it happens, but music greats Patti Smith, George Benson and Sarah Dash likely will take part when the New Jersey Hall of Fame inducts this year’s class of honorees.

The Hall of Fame’s 13th annual induction ceremony will be conducted virtually this year, but will be broadcast on My9NJ on October 16, 17, 23 and 24. It also will be available on NJTV and various digital platforms. To date, the Hall of Fame has honored some 180 prominent New Jerseyans from throughout the state’s history. Induction ceremonies typically feature celebrity appearances and musical performances.

This year, singer/songwriter/author Smith will be inducted in the performing arts category along with her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye. Others being honored in the category are jazz guitarist/singer/songwriter Benson; vocalist Dash, a cofounder of the hitmaking group Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells; and, posthumously, singer/activist Lesley Gore and comedian/actor Buddy Hackett. Singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, a previous honoree, will be formally inducted this year.

Founding father Hamilton will enter the Hall of Fame in the public service category. Other luminaries voted into the Hall of Fame this year include former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski; baseball great Monte Irvin; writer/journalist Gay Talese; documentary photographer Dorothea Lange; and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The New Jersey Hall of Fame honors citizens who have made invaluable contributions to society. This year’s inductees were chosen out of 50 nominees after a public vote during the month of May.

Here is a complete list of this year’s inductees:


  • *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


  • 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, poet and author, 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/songwriter


  • *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, infielder/outfielder 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 analyst

*Being honored posthumously.
**Previous inductee, but being formally inducted this year.

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