Toni Morrison, Obama - Shutterstock

Novelist Toni Morrison smiles as she is presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House May 29, 2012.

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TRENTON - To showcase the outstanding talent of the people of New Jersey and their contributions to the world, Gov. Phil Murphy announced July 27 that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is renaming nine service areas on the Garden State Parkway after iconic New Jersey Hall of Fame (NJHOF) inductees in the arts, entertainment and sports.

According to a governor's office release, the Ocean View Service Area, the only service area on the Parkway in Cape May County, will be renamed the Toni Morrison Service Area, in honor of the award-winning author who held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities, at Princeton University.

“This is about putting New Jersey greatness on full display,” stated Murphy. “This is the first part of an extended statewide exhibition of New Jersey heroes throughout our state. From military heroes on the Battleship New Jersey to historical figures on the New Jersey Turnpike to science and technology trailblazers at Newark Penn Station, New Jerseyans will find pride in our contributions to society and the world.”  

"Our state’s rich cultural history has fostered an incredible number of talented individuals who have brought great pride to New Jersey through their contributions in entertainment, sports, arts and more,” stated First Lady Tammy Murphy. "By highlighting the past achievements of New Jersey residents, we aim to encourage hope for the future success stories of our great state, and maybe even inspire the next Toni Morrison or Jon Bon Jovi to achieve all that they can through the opportunities afforded in New Jersey.” 

"Millions of New Jersey drivers travel on the Garden State Parkway every day,” stated New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Scaccetti-Gutierrez. “The service areas they visit during those travels are a fitting place to call attention to the accomplishments of their fellow New Jerseyans in the arts, entertainment and sports, and there is no organization better suited to identify the New Jerseyans worthy of this recognition than the New Jersey Hall of Fame." 

“New Jersey’s leaders have joined with New Jersey Hall of Fame to inspire people to become leaders in their own fields as they travel along the Garden State Parkway,” stated NJHOF Chairman Jon Hanson. “We’re grateful to the governor, the first lady, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-18th) for their leadership.  

“We encourage patrons in each service area to identify with one of our inductees and take to heart the advice our inductees provide on how to reach the pinnacle of their respective professions,” stated Steve Edwards, president, New Jersey Hall of Fame. “ The rest is up to you."

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously July 27 to rename the nine service areas in honor of these notable New Jerseyans. 

In keeping with the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s mission, the Garden State Parkway service area exhibits will encourage people to purposely choose their own heroes and learn about their paths to success.  

Garden State Parkway service area parking lots will now welcome visitors with banners of NJHOF inductees, and each service area will contain Hard Rock Cafe-style exhibits, including inspirational posters designed by renowned New Jersey architect Michael Graves, compelling artifacts, and an interactive wall of fame featuring a life-sized video monitor showcasing over 200 biographical vignettes of all inductees and their acceptance speeches. Service area patrons will be invited to pose with various Jersey legends and share the photos on their social media platforms.  

While all New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees will be showcased, each service area will be themed in the categories of arts, entertainment and sports.   

The planned Parkway service area exhibitions further extend the Hall of Fame’s statewide network of museums, exhibits and poster installations in partnership with Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey Transit, Battleship New Jersey, Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Later this year, the Hall of Fame will announce updated plans for its permanent home, at American Dream, while the mobile museum continues to serve local communities.

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