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BELLEVILLE, NJ – (March 7, 2011) The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) will host its 12thAnnual Awards of Excellence dinner at Belleville, New Jersey’s Nanina’s in the Park on Thursday, March 22, 2012. TMCF regional events honor community leaders in select markets for their professional and civic excellence, as well as their contributions to education and diversity. AT&T and GIBBONS lead a host of event sponsors in providing financial assistance to deserving students attending TMCF’s 47 member-school network of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

NBC TV's Brian Thompson will serve as emcee of this year’s event. The honorees are NFL Hall of Fame & NY Giants Legend, Harry Carson; Vice President & General Counsel, Johnson & Johnson, Russell C. Deyo, Esq.; Dean of Seton Hall University School of Law, Patrick E. Hobbs, JD, LLM; Pediatrician Curtis A. Johnson, MD, and Chief Justice New Jersey Supreme Court (Ret.), the Honorable Deborah T. Poritz.

“These community leaders inspire our youth and serve as role models for the nearly 300,000 young men and women helped by TMCF every year,” said TMCF’s President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.  “We acknowledge their efforts to ensure that educational opportunities are available for everyone.”

The New Jersey Awards of Excellence is the first of five such events that will take place this year. Future Awards of Excellence dinners will be held in Charlotte, NC; Miami, FL; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL. These are several events hosted by TMCF throughout the year, culminating with the 25th Anniversary Awards Gala on Monday, October 29, 2012. For New Jersey Awards of Excellence sponsorship opportunities and ticket information, please contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 201-227-8427.

2012 Honorees

Harry Carson
NFL Hall of Fame & NY Giants Legend

Harry Carson’s 13-year career with the New York Football Giants is one of the longest tenures in club history. The indestructible former linebacker served as Team Captain for 10 of his 13 seasons including the 1986 season when the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI. Rated the #1 “Inside Linebacker” in NFL history according to Pro Football Weekly, Carson was named to the All-Rookie Team after his first NFL season. Subsequently, during his NFL career, he was named to the All-NFL Team 7 times, the All-NFC Team 8 times, and was NFC Linebacker of the Year twice. He once made an amazing 25 tackles in a Monday Night Football Game against the Green Bay Packers. With performances like that he was selected by his peers to play in the NFC-AFC Pro Bowl 9 times and he is among the top 250 players to ever play professional football with his 2006 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from South Carolina State University, a Thurgood Marshall College Fund member-school. Currently, Mr. Carson is the president of Harry Carson, Inc. (HCI) a Sports Consulting and Promotions Company. HCI consults with media outlets, educational sources and corporations on sports as well as non-sports related issues. Mr. Carson also co-hosts the Giants weekly magazine program, Giants Opening Drive Live, on Madison Square Garden Network. He is also executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an organization representing the National Football League (NFL) minority non-player personnel, which is dedicated to creating greater racial diversity within the National Football League. He enjoys mentoring young people and current athletes.

Russell C. Deyo, Esq.
Vice President & General Counsel of Johnson & Johnson

Russell C. Deyo has served as vice president and general counsel of Johnson & Johnson since April 2004 and as a member of the executive committee, the principal management group responsible for the Company’s operations, since October 1996. During the course of his tenure as General Counsel, his responsibilities, in addition to legal matters, included government affairs and policy, health care compliance, privacy and aviation.

Mr. Deyo was associate general counsel of Johnson & Johnson for five years and served as a member of the management boards of Personal Products Company, Advanced Care Products and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical. Mr. Deyo joined Johnson & Johnson as a general attorney in 1985, after a federal judicial clerkship, two years of private practice with a New York law firm, and eight years as an assistant United States attorney in New Jersey. In his last three years with that office, he was chief of the special prosecutions (public corruption) unit, and received a special commendation for outstanding service from the attorney general of the United States. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Mr. Deyo received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Patrick E. Hobbs, JD, LLM
Dean of Seton Hall University School of Law

Patrick E. Hobbs is dean of Seton Hall University School of Law. Having joined the faculty of Seton Hall Law in 1990, he has taught federal Income taxation, corporate taxation and business planning, and law and literature. In 1995, he became the associate dean for finance and in 1999, he became the law school's seventh dean. Dean Hobbs has steered the law school through a series of groundbreaking initiatives that have raised Seton Hall Law to unprecedented prominence. The law school’s health law program is consistently ranked among the top 10 nationally. Based on recent graduate employment in top law firms, in 2011 the National Law Journal named Seton Hall Law a “Top 50 Go-To Law School,” ranking it 33rd.  Based on percentage of graduates employed in the highly coveted federal judicial clerkships, in 2011 U.S. News & World Report ranked Seton Hall Law 29th among all law schools. Based on the number of practicing attorneys across the country who are selected as Super Lawyers, in 2010, the last year tallied, Seton Hall Law was ranked 40th in the nation.

A member of the State Commission of Investigation’s governing board since 2004, in 2011 Governor Chris Christie ’87 appointed him chair of the commission— an independent watchdog agency established in 1968 to investigate organized crime and corruption, waste of tax money and other abuses of the public trust. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standards Review Committee and Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Locally, he served as a member of the board of directors of Puck Holdings, the company that owns the New Jersey Devils, and also serves on the boards of the Newark Alliance, Lexis-Nexis, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, the New Jersey Commission of Professionalism, and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Formerly a tax attorney with Shanley & Fisher and with Hannoch Weisman, P.C. Dean Hobbs received his B.A. in accounting from Seton Hall University (magna cum laude), his J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his LL.M. (in taxation) from New York University.

 Curtis A. Johnson, MD

Curtis A. Johnson, Jr. is a board certified pediatrician who has served the residents of Essex County as a practicing physician since 1979. Committed to an urban practice, Dr. Johnson opened his office in East Orange in 1984. His practice serves patients from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and as far away as Washington, D.C. He is currently a senior attending physician at St. Barnabas Medical Center and is on staff at the University of Medicine and Dentistry as a clinical instructor.

 Dr. Johnson served as the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the former Hospital Center at Orange prior to its closing. Before starting his solo practice, he served as an emergency room physician at East Orange General Hospital, a pediatric house physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, associate physician in the office of Dr. Salvador Marse, and a university physician at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. His pediatric residency was completed at the former Children’s Hospital of New Jersey where he was appointed as a chief resident. A graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry, Newark, New Jersey, Dr. Johnson completed his undergraduate studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

 The Honorable Deborah T. Poritz
Chief Justice New Jersey Supreme Court (Ret.)

Chief justice Poritz received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1977. She joined the office of the New Jersey Attorney General as a deputy attorney general in the division of law, environmental section. She later served as deputy attorney general in charge of appeals, chief of the banking, Insurance and public securities section, and from 1986 to 1989, was the assistant attorney general and director of the division of law, supervising more than 300 attorneys for the state.

In 1989, Governor Thomas H. Kean appointed her as chief counsel, the first woman to serve in that position. When Governor Kean left office in January 1990, she became a partner at the Princeton law firm of Jamieson, Moore, Peskin & Spicer representing clients in environmental and insurance regulatory matters. She remained at the firm until her appointment by Governor Christine T. Whitman in January 1994 as New Jersey’s first woman attorney general. As attorney general, she successfully defended Megan’s Law in both the state and federal courts and chaired the task force that proposed and implemented the reorganization and reformation of the juvenile justice system in New Jersey. On July 10, 1996, Deborah T. Poritz took the oath of office as the first female chief justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. TMCF helps students with a clear intention and the motivation to succeed and acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF also efficiently connects high performing, world-ready students with top tier employment opportunities—access that students or employers might not have on their own. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization and has a "Four Star" rating by Charity Navigator. For more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit: