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TESU Foundation to Host the 30th Annual Grande Ball 2021

Annual Spirit of Edison Award Honorees

Thomas Edison State University Foundation will be hosting its 30th Annual Grande Ball on Oct. 16, at Jasna Polana in Princeton, N.J., where two recipients will be presented with the prestigious Spirit of Edison Award.

The black-tie gala event will begin with a silent auction and cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by an evening of dinner, dancing and entertainment from 7-11 p.m.

One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation of the Annual Spirit of Edison Awards. Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University, will present Spirit of Edison Community Leader Awards to Candice Long, President, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Kemi Alli, MD, chief executive officer of Henry J. Austin Health Center.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to recognize the extraordinary leadership surrounding the development and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University.” These two exceptional honorees have exemplified the Spirit of Edison by promoting innovation, advancing the public good and saving countless lives at a time of great peril.”

Long leads the U.S. Infectious Diseases & Vaccines team at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and is responsible for the Company’s portfolio of antiretroviral treatments and the introduction of vaccines across multiple disease areas, including the Company’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. Alli has been instrumental in educating the public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and its distribution to the Trenton community and throughout the state of New Jersey. 

The Annual Grande Ball is the TESU Foundation’s most important event of the year and raises funds to support the University’s mission to deliver flexible programs that meet the changing needs of today’s adult learners, their employers and their communities. The ballroom will be filled with guests representing our corporate partners, local government leaders and members of the community. This special evening of purpose celebrates the University’s achievements in transforming the lives of thousands of adult students during the unprecedented challenges of the past two years and provides an opportunity to thank and recognize TESU’s individual and corporate partners who share in the University’s belief that education is a powerful tool that enhances our lives and our work.

In response to concerns over the Delta variant, and for the safety and enjoyment of all our guests, attendees will be required to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from within 48 hours of the event.

Toni M. Terry, BA

"I am 67 years old, soon to be 68, and to be able to say I did this at this day in my life is just gratification for my own self."

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