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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)May 13, 2002

MAHWAH, N.J. – May 13, 2002 – Joining the Russell Berrie Foundation and Ramapo College of New Jersey in honoring ordinary people who perform extraordinary acts for the benefit of others will be Congressman Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey’s First District and Elizabeth G. Christopherson, executive director of NJN and president of the NJN Foundation Board.

In addition to public recognition, the Berrie Award bestows top cash awards of $50,000, $35,000 and $25,000, as well as runner-up grants of $2,500. This year, a special category, with an additional cash award, will recognize New Jerseyans who made a difference in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on America.

Russ Berrie, founder, chairman and CEO of Oakland-based Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., established the award in 1996 to recognize unsung heroes who have made a significant difference to the well-being of society and for whom the award would make a significant difference in their own lives.

Andrews, now in his seventh term, has served for his entire Congressional career on the Education and Workforce Committee. He is the Democratic leader and Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, and serves on the Armed Services Committee.

Representing Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties, Andrews commutes to Washington, D.C. daily from his home in Haddon Heights in order to be closer to his family and his constituents.

The heroic acts of one of his constituents, a volunteer firefighter who died in the line of duty, inspired Andrews to nominate him for this year’s award. Andrews’ nominee, the late James Heenen of Westville, is among the 19 finalists, chosen from more than 300 nominees submitted for consideration this year.

Elizabeth Christopherson is a leader in the management of public television. Her accomplishments at NJN and her work on behalf of underserved communities have been recognized by civic, cultural, business and media organizations. She received the 2001 Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice/New Jersey Chapter, and the Distinguished Citizen Award from Ramapo College.

In 1990, Leadership America, limited to 100 highly qualified women throughout the nation, selected Christopherson for membership and subsequently elected her president. She also serves as president of the International Women’s Forum/New Jersey Chapter. She has dedicated many years as a volunteer to helping organizations strengthen communities. She has served as a volunteer with the Newark Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts USA, Liberty Science Center, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Russ Berrie Award Advisory Committee.

Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes approximately 6,000 seasonal and everyday gift products to retailers worldwide. Its diverse range of products includes everything from teddy bears and other stuffed animals to baby gifts, picture frames, candles, figurines and home decor gifts.

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s public liberal arts college, serving 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 20 states and 60 nations. The College’s center for performing and visual arts, the site of the Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference ceremony, is named in honor of both Mr. Berrie and his wife Angelica.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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