January 26, 2001
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

Two New Members Join Commission on Higher Education

Two prominent New Jerseyans were sworn in today as members of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education during the Commission's monthly meeting in Trenton.

Laurence M. Downes, Chairman and CEO of New Jersey Resources Corporation and its principal subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas Company, was named by Governor Christie Whitman to a six-year term on the Commission. Mr. Downes has been with the corporation since 1985, serving as President and CEO since 1995 and as Chairman since 1996. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Gas Association and New Jersey Manufacturer's Insurance Company. He is also Chairman of the Georgian Court College Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Jersey Shore Partnership. A resident of Princeton Junction, Mr. Downes holds bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Iona College in New York.

Henry C. Johnson, CEO and President of City News Publishing Company and publisher of City News, will also serve a six-year term as a public member of the Commission. Dr. Johnson, of Plainfield, currently serves on the Department of Banking and Insurance Community Financial Services Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the State Chamber of Commerce, the Newark Workforce Investment Board, and the Connection Newark Advisory Board. He is a frequent speaker about the importance of urban community building and urban youth achievement. Dr. Johnson, a former school psychologist and coordinator of testing, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Education from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in Education from Michigan State University.

The 13-member Commission on Higher Education was created under the Higher Education Restructuring Act of 1994 as the state agency responsible for higher education planning, coordination, and advocacy.

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