Among the inevitable roster of athletes and entertainers inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame on Monday, three literary luminaries were recognized by the state for their contributions. From a shortlist of nominees, New Jersey residents selected Pulitzer Prize–winning poet William Carlos Williams, who also served the community as a physician; Walt Whitman, who lived in Camden during the latter part of his life; and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who attended school in Hackensack.
Williams’s granddaughter, Daphne Fox-Williams, who lives in the poet’s hometown of Rutherford, told the Star-Ledger that the honor was anticipated. “He contributed his life to New Jersey as much as anybody else who's ever lived here,” Fox-Williams said of her grandfather. “The recognition is long overdue.”
The writers join astronomer Carl Sagan, musician Jon Bon Jovi, and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, as well as seven others, in the Hall of Fame's second round of inductions. Toni Morrison was among the first honorees in 2007. A formal induction ceremony will take place on May 3 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
“This group of hall of famers embodies the spirit of New Jersey, a combination of drive, determination and creativity that has led them to greatness,” New Jersey governor Jon Corzine said in a statement. “The New Jersey hall should serve as a reminder that the people of New Jersey strive for excellence and engage in myriad productive and rewarding activities that help society and give back to mankind.”