BJ Ward To Receive HOF President’s Award

Poet and WCCC Professor BJ Ward

BJ Ward has been a full-time English and Creative Writing instructor at Warren County Community College since 1997, first as a visiting lecturer, then as a tenure-track professor. He is consistently rated by the students as one of the college’s best professors, with good reason, as he is engaging and lively in his presentations. Ward is known well beyond the WCCC and Warren County community, though.

And now, Ward will be recognized further when he receives the prestigious President’s Award at the 2016 Warren County Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 29.

In addition to Ward, two groups will be cited with special awards: Firth Youth Center in Phillipsburg and the Hackettstown Business Improvement District and its Executive Director, Jim Sheldon.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are Robert Petersen, Helene Meissner, Alex Rinaldi, Nancy Brown, Ed Rossi., and posthumously, Jim Ringo, and Charles Smith.

The gala event will be held at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington and is open to the public.

The Firth Youth Center has been serving children for generations, providing an array of opportunities and activities for youngsters of all ages. The Hackettstown BID, under Sheldon’s leadership, has seen an amazing growth in a restaurant and micro-brewery niche, making Hackettstown a true destination town.

Born, raised, and still living in Warren County, Ward has published in nationally and internationally recognized journals and newspapers, as well as authored four volumes of poetry. His credentials, in and out of the classroom, are astounding. Ward’s most recent book, Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems 1990-2013, released as part of the well-respected IO Poetry Series, is the recipient of the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Furthermore, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, The Star-Ledger, placed Jackleg Opera as #3 in its year-end list of Top 10 Books by New Jerseyans (12-28-2014).

At WCCC, his Visiting Authors Series has over the years attracted some of the country’s biggest names in poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing. Ward was named a “master teacher” in an article entitled “10 Dynamic Jersey Artists Not Named Springsteen,” published in the magazine Inside Jersey, one of many educational honors he has received. Among his many other awards, he has received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education from the State of New Jersey and has been designated Distinguished Teaching Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He was also named Teaching Artist of the Year by Playwrights’ Theatre of New Jersey for his work in the New Jersey Writers Project.

On the “bigger front,” Ward’s poetry has been featured on National Public Radio, New Jersey Network’s “State of the Arts,” and Poetry Daily, as well as in numerous national publications such as Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, TriQuarterly, and The Literary Review. His essays have appeared in The New York Times and Teaching Artist Journal. One of his poems (“For the Children of the World Trade Center Victims”) has been cast in bronze and acquired as part of the permanent collection at Grounds for Sculpture, an outdoor sculpture museum in Hamilton, NJ.

In addition, Ward is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for Poetry and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He served as University Distinguished Fellow at Syracuse University while in graduate school.

The establishment of the Warren County Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Warren County Community College Foundation, was created as a forum for honoring Warren County’s finest in an array of fields. The Hall of Fame itself is set up at Warren County Community College, where the public is invited to see it. For tickets or table reservations to the recognition dinner and other information, please call 908-835-2334 or email

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