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TESU Foundation's 2019 Grande Ball: A Night of Celebration and Purpose 


Thomas Edison State University Foundation held its 28th Annual Grande Ball at TPC Jasna Polana in Princeton, N.J., on Oct. 26. More than 200 guests were in attendance to celebrate the University’s legacy of delivering flexible programs that meet the changing needs of adult learners and their employers.

Among the celebrants were New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and first lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, marking the first time a sitting governor has attended the signature event and nearly $170,000 was raised in support of the critical needs of the University.

Two Spirit of Edison Awards, created to recognize community leaders and alumni whose creativity, commitment to innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and concern for public good continue to fuel the institution’s success, were presented.

Jeffrey Stokes, BS ’15, senior director of Power Generation at PSEG, U.S. Navy veteran and TESU Foundation Board member, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. In accepting his award, Stokes, described the transformative power of his degree. “I have a passion for what’s happened to me; I have a passion for higher learning; I have a passion for doing the work of the Foundation because of how my education has changed me,” said Stokes. “The work that the Foundation does is amazing, and I could not have earned my degree without PSEG and its support.”

Governor Murphy presented the Community Leader Award to Dr. Ralph Izzo, chairman of the board, president and CEO of the University’s longtime educational partner, PSEG. On the institution’s synergetic relationship with its educational and community partner, Dr. Meorodie A. Hancock, president of TESU, commented, “When I met Ralph Izzo, I was inspired by his desire to invest in all of his employees at all levels. Leveraging our core strengths, we are collaborating together to build pathways for underrepresented minorities and women to grow into positions of leadership and influence...PSEG has been a true partner-leader with us in this arena and in supporting and hiring our active-duty military and veterans."

The TESU Foundation is grateful to the 2019 Gala Committee and the generous sponsors, digital journal advertisers, attendees and contributors 
for their support of the University's mission and students.

Questions? Contact the Office of Development (609) 984-1588 x2080 or [email protected]



(L-R) New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy; PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Dr. Ralph Izzo; and Thomas Edison State University President Dr. Merodie Hancock

(L-R) Vice President of Public Affairs and Executive Vice President of TESU Foundation John Thurber; PSEG Senior Director of Power Generation Jeffrey Stokes '15; and Jenner & Block Partner Randy Mehrberg