U.S. Department of the Interior secretary Sally Jewell appointed two university professors with lengthy history of supporting public spaces and historic preservation to the Great Falls National Historical Park Advisory Commission to succeed two outgoing board members.
Jewell appointed John Lawrence and Hilary Ballon at the recommendation of Rep. Bill Pascrell. Lawrence, a member of the Eastside High School’s class of 1966 and former chief of staff to speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, has worked on national park, memorial, and wilderness issues for more than 30 years.
Lawrence played a key role in the creation and development of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calf., and Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial in Concord, Calf. He serves on the board of both the Great Falls and Port Chicago friends groups.
Born and raised in Paterson, Lawrence has a doctorate in American History from the University of California-Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College. He is presently a visiting professor at the University of California’s Washington, D.C. campus.
“My family connections to Paterson go back over a century, which is why I have a deep personal commitment to the Great Falls Park,” Lawrence said. “I deeply appreciate having the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Commission, which has been provided by the Park’s champion, Congressman Bill Pascrell.”
Ballon is a professor at the New York University. She teaches urbanism and architecture. She wrote the acclaimed book on New York’s Pennsylvania Stations which takes the reader on a guided tour through New York City’s great civic architecture.
Ballon previously taught a seminar on urban development in New York City and served as the chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Princeton University. She has a undergraduate from Princeton and a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
She is the granddaughter of an immigrant who toiled in Paterson’s silk mills.
“This extraordinary project captures Paterson’s historic legacy, which became a model for the industrialization of the country. I am honored to contribute to the park’s inspiring mission,” Ballon said.
Pascrell welcomed both appointments. “As a founding stakeholder of the Great Falls, I am always proud to support highly qualified individuals who are dedicated to carrying out our long-term blueprint. Ensuring the best individuals who are committed to the conservation efforts in the Great Falls is important, which is why I strongly supported Dr. Lawrence to succeed Jim Pepper as national parks expert and Dr. Ballon to succeed Leonard Zax as historic preservation expert,” Pascrell said on Thursday afternoon. “I want to thank Jim and Leonard for their exemplary work on the park and congratulate the two new board members, who have both demonstrated a long history as devoted public servants who are invested in the future of New Jersey.”