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2008 Commencement Honoree Elizabeth Del Tufo

Elizabeth Del Tufo
Historian
Newark Preservation and Landmark Committee

Elizabeth Del TufoFor more than three decades, Elizabeth R. Del Tufo has given thousands of people new awareness of the beautiful and distinctive landmarks and neighborhoods in the City of Newark. Her fondest memories of the city are the 1950s, when she worked downtown while attending Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in Montclair. In 1960, she returned to the city as a resident after marrying Raymond Del Tufo, Jr., who died in 1970.

In 1973, Del Tufo and a small group of people formed the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee in order to protect the architecture that was such an integral part of the city’s history. Since that time, the committee’s efforts have placed more than 70 individual buildings and five districts on the State and National Register of Historic Places.Working with The Newark Museum in 1976, Del Tufo started a program of Newark tours which has grown to 50 tours a year, guiding groups from all over the metropolitan area through Newark.  Eberhardt Hall NJIT Alumni Center has become a regular attraction on these tours. She also established the website newarktours.com, through which she continues to lead hundreds of people through Newark every year.

Del Tufo was appointed the first director of Cultural Affairs for Essex County in 1980, where she expanded the annual concert events to more than 200 from the dozen or so in previous years. The concerts focused on New Jersey performers and were held mostly in Newark’s historic Branch BrookPark. Her most lasting accomplishment was the restoration of a former Nike Missile Base in Livingston, NJ, into today’s Riker Hill Art Park. In 1986, Del Tufo became the Executive Director of the Newark Boys Chorus School, where she solidified the boys’ role as “Newark’s Finest Ambassadors,” singing internationally while gaining excellent academic training. During her tenure, the school earned Middle States Accreditation.

In 1990, Del Tufo convinced the city administration to create a landmarks commission which would, by state and municipal ordinance, protect all Newark sites on the historic registers. She served as chair of the commission for 16 years.More recently, she has put together a DVD, Newark Through the Ages, which she uses when lecturing at colleges, adult schools, and historic preservation organizations.

In recognition of her outstanding career as a founding member of the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee and her commitment to the City of Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology is pleased to confer the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, upon Elizabeth R. Del Tufo.