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NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2003
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

Laurence M. Downes Elected Chairman of Commission on Higher Education

Laurence M. Downes of West Windsor, chairman of the board and chief executive o also chairman of the Georgian Court College board of trustees and fficer of New Jersey Resources Corporation and its principal subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas Company, was elected today to serve as the next chairman of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

Mr. Downes succeeds Alfred C. Koeppe, who served as chair for two and one-half years. Mr. Koeppe is stepping down as chair, but will continue to serve as a member of the Commission

"I am honored to be chosen by my colleagues to serve as the Commission's chairman," said Mr. Downes. "I hope that I can maintain the momentum the Commission has achieved under Al Koeppe's stewardship.

"I have been privileged to head the long-range planning process for New Jersey higher education, launched ten months ago, and I look forward to continuing my role in this critical endeavor," he said. "It has provided a unique opportunity to understand the varying perspectives of the numerous stakeholders involved in New Jersey higher education. The inclusive process builds upon a tradition of open communication between the Commission and the higher education community, which will become increasingly important as we move forward through the remaining stages of the planning process and on to implementation."

In addition to his work on long-range planning, Mr. Downes has been a member of the Commission's Executive Committee since his appointment to the Commission in the year 2000.

Mr. Downes joined New Jersey Resources Corporation in 1985, rising to senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1990. He has been president and CEO since 1995 and chairman since 1996. Mr. Downes serves on the board of directors of the American Gas Association and of the New Jersey Manufacturer's Insurance Company. He is chairman of the Jersey Shore Partnership and previously served as chairman of the Georgian Court College board of trustees. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Iona College (New York).

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Commission on Higher Education
PO Box 542
Trenton, NJ 08625-0542
Last Updated: May 8, 2003
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