Office of Public Relations
Pomona, NJ 08240
Stockton College to Dedicate Auditorium
In Honor of Elizabeth B. Alton,
Atlantic City Native Helped Establish College
September 28 Event to be a Highlight of Inauguration Ceremony for President Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr.
For Immediate Release
Friday, September 10, 2004
Contact: Tim Kelly
Stockton Public Relations (609) 652-4950
Galloway Twp. – Elizabeth B. Alton, who organized the original charter for the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and whose tireless efforts were largely responsible for the 1969 legislation establishing the institution, will receive a special honor at Stockton on Thursday September 28, 2004.
Stockton’s A-Wing Auditorium will be dedicated in her honor at a special ceremony scheduled for 3:35 p.m. as a highlight of the formal Inauguration of Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr. as Stockton’s fourth President. Mrs. Alton, a native of Atlantic City and a current resident of Egg Harbor Township, was appointed to the original nine member Board of Trustees at Stockton, and later became the first woman Chair of a Board in the state college system. She went on to be the first woman member of the Council of State Colleges in New Jersey.
“The Inauguration is a bridge from our unique heritage as a College and our plans for the future,” said Saatkamp. “The dedication of the Auditorium to honor Mrs. Alton symbolizes both. We honor her many contributions to the College and we are planning to modernize the Auditorium as a key component of our new Master Plan.”
Mrs. Alton comes from a long line of “founders” in the region. Her grandfather, Joseph A. Barstow, was one of the originators of America’s first and most famous Boardwalk in Atlantic City, storing the planks in his barn during the winter and placing them on the sand during tourist season. Her aunt, Georgia A. Barstow Wright, was among a group of Atlantic City women who, after establishing the Atlantic City Public Library, convinced Andrew Carnegie to fund what would become the Carnegie Library building, a 100-year-old landmark that now serves as Stockton’s satellite center.
Mrs. Alton, active in community and charitable affairs in the Atlantic City region and a graduate of Syracuse University, always felt the southern portion of New Jersey was under-served by the state institutions of higher education. She went on a personal grass roots campaign and gained support of South Jersey radio talk show host Pinky Kravitz, local religious and community groups, and eventually powerful State Senator Frank S. (Hap) Farley. Legislation creating Stockton was enacted in 1969, classes began in the former Mayflower Hotel on the Atlantic City boardwalk in 1971, and Stockton’s campus in the Pomona section of Galloway Township opened the following year.
“This is an overwhelming honor,” Mrs. Alton said. “I felt that I was able to accomplish something with the help of some powerful lawmakers and opinion shapers. Sometimes when I see everything at the campus it is hard to believe we started with an idea that this part of the state needed its own College.”
President Saatkamp’s inauguration takes place at 1:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Following a recessional of the platform party from the PAC to A-Wing, the Dedication of the Elizabeth B. Alton Auditorium will take place at approximately 3:35 p.m. in the A-Wing Gallery. A reception is scheduled in the Arts and Sciences sculpture garden immediately following the ceremony.