Senator Gordon was introduced by his friend, New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal who praised him as a “true public servant who has dedicated his entire life to public service, social justice, improving the lives of others and his community.” The AG went on to say that the senator embodies Felician’s Franciscan Values.
Sen. Gordon began his career at the Brookings Institute, researching social and environmental issues. He served in the NJ state senate from 2008 to 2018, and in the NJ General Assembly from 2004 to 2008. He’s also a former mayor of the borough of Fairlawn.
In conferring the honorary degree, Felician University President James W. Crawford, III recognized the former Bergen County State Senator as a champion of transparency and accountability in government throughout his legislative career and often in the face of adversity. President, Crawford lauded Sen. Gordon for sponsoring legislation in support of the underserved and recognized him for his commitment to social justice and environmental issues.
Addressing Felician’s class of 2021, the Senator acknowledged that many have, “faced the challenge of balancing the demands of school with work commitments and family obligations.” He praised them for persevering despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic which he said, “made the last year unlike anything we could have imagined.”
Despite not having children of his own, Senator Gordon shared what he called some “fatherly advice” with Felician’s class of 2021 including, “finding some way to give back to the community regardless of what you do professionally.” He said the call of community service should be familiar to them as graduates of Felician University which is guided by its Franciscan core values which he says are similar to the teachings of his Jewish faith.
The former lawmaker told the graduates that as he looks back at his 50-year career, the things that give him the most satisfaction are the ones that improved individual lives and he urged then to look for ways to give back, saying helping others will bring both an incredible sense of accomplishment and pure joy. “There is nothing more fulfilling than repairing the world one person at a time,” adding, “everyone, everyone can find ways to give back, whether by coaching sports in your hometown, serving as an EMT, volunteering at a shelter, or caring for a loved one or neighbor.
The era of the lifetime career is mostly over, Senator Gordon told the graduates and urged them to never stop learning. He advised the graduates to, “continue to acquire new skills, avoid being pigeonholed in a narrow subject area, and position yourself to take advantage of opportunities as you encounter them.” The good news he said is that Felician Arts and Science graduates have a liberal arts education which is, “the best education for a rapidly changing work environment.”