Here are some of the names that are linked with the legacy of Richard Stockton College:
A New Jersey Supreme Court justice and member of the Continental Congress, Richard Stockton was the first New Jersey signer of the Declaration of Independence. Later captured by the British, he was imprisoned in terrible conditions, starved and housed in near-freezing cold.
He was released, but his estate near Princeton had been looted and burned by the British. His health never recovered and he died a pauper at age 51 in 1781.
One of five New Jersey signers of the Declaration of Independence, he could have been a controversial choice for the college name. While in prison he signed an oath of loyalty to England, though he later renounced it. And had reportedly been an unrepentant slave owner.
His scrawl is a bit hard to read, but can be clearly seen on the new replica of the Declaration installed on the wall outside the new Campus Center at the college.
Elizabeth Barstow Alton
In 1966, when the state was considering building two more state colleges, Elizabeth Barstow Alton began a campaign to make sure one of them was in Atlantic County. Her secret weapon was a three-foot state map with circles showing all of the four-year colleges in the state. Multiple circles overlapped in the north. But in the south, there were just three circles, Glassboro State College, Rutgers-Camden, and the private Shelton College in Cape May which later closed. Not one circle touched Atlantic County.
"I had a big mouth," Alton, then 97, said in a 2004 interview. "But when I showed the map, I didn't have to say anything."
She enlisted legislators, including the powerful state Sen. Frank S. Farley, and prominent businessmen, and in 1968 won approval for the college. She also pushed for rural Galloway Township as the college site over Buena Vista Township.
Alton served on the college's Board of Trustees from 1971-73, then wrote a book on the founding of the college that was published by the Alumni Association. In 2004 the college renamed the renovated A-Wing Auditorium the Elizabeth B. Alton Auditorium. She died in December 2006 at the age of 100.
Wendell A. White, a professor at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, spent years photographing and documenting the black communities in southern New Jersey, many of which are now gone or are disappearing. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the project "Small Towns, Black Lives: African American Communities in New Jersey."
White spent 13 years photographing and collecting personal histories in communities including: Whitesboro and Cape May in Cape May County; Port Republic, Morris Beach, Newtownville, and Beyt Mosheh in Atlantic County; Gouldtown and Springtown in Cumberland County; and others in Camden and Gloucester counties. The photos toured on exhibit and were made into a book.
Harold E. Taylor
Harold E. "Hal" exemplified Stockton's mission. He came to the college in 1971 as a physics professor and was known for his interest in alternative energy sources. He was instrumental in the conversion of the campus to geothermal energy.
In 1974 he undertook a project to build an observatory on campus, which was built in 1976. The facility, open for public viewing, operates a 16-inch telescope that can gaze millions of light years into the universe.
Taylor died in December 2002. The observatory was named in his memory in April 2003.