Monday, Jun 21, 2021
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli '80 to be honored
by Adam Grybowski
The new Department of Health building in downtown Trenton will be named after Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli '80, state officials announced on Friday, June 18.
Persichilli, a former Rider Trustee who received a Master of Arts in the University's Program for Administrators, will be honored for her past and ongoing service to the people of New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Each and every day throughout the pandemic, Judy has remained singularly engaged to save lives and protect public health," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. "She has been the right leader for these times, and I could not be prouder to have asked Judy to serve as commissioner two years ago.”
The new Department of Health building will be renamed the Judith M. Persichilli Building following the passage of enabling legislation in the Assembly and Senate. The facility was completed in late 2020. It houses Department of Health workspace and offices in downtown Trenton.
“Now all those who pass through the halls of the Judith M. Persichilli Building will be reminded of Judy's selfless, honorable and dedicated service to our state and its residents during the greatest public health crisis in New Jersey's history,” Murphy said.
Persichilli began serving as acting commissioner of health on Aug. 5, 2019, and was confirmed by the State Senate on Jan. 9, 2020. After only five months on the job, she began to receive reports of a novel virus in Wuhan, China.
“COVID-19 has confronted all of us with the challenge of a lifetime and has impacted every aspect of our lives — how we work, how we interact with family and friends, how we go about everyday living, how we go to school or travel, and more," Persichilli said in an interview with Rider magazine in October 2020.
Leaders from state government and health care leaders lauded the decision to name the building in her honor.
"Thanks to her leadership as commissioner of health, our state was able to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and this was only the latest achievement in a long and impressive career in health care,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Prior to leading the department, Persichilli served in leadership positions of several organizations, including the acting chief executive officer of University Hospital in Newark and the interim president and chief executive officer of CHE Trinity Health.
In addition to her master’s from Rider, Persichilli received a nursing diploma from the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers. She also received honorary doctorates from Georgian Court University and Sacred Heart University.
"Commissioner Persichilli's tireless leadership and expertise in helping us emerge from this pandemic has been remarkable,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, “and I can think of no other person in the state who is more deserving of this honor.”