RWJF’s Morita Named to Biden’s COVID Team

julie morita

Julie Morita

Julie Morita, the executive vice president of the College Road East-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has been named to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board.

A Chicago native, Morita earned undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Illinois and worked for 20 years for the Chicago Department of Public Health. She was commissioner from 2015 until she left for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in June, 2019. In her role at RWJF she oversees programming, policy research, and communications.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 50 College Road East, Princeton 08540. 609-452-8701. Richard Besser, president and CEO.

Rider to Offer Acting Degree

Rider University has expanded its undergraduate academic offerings by adding a bachelor of fine arts in acting for film, television, and theater beginning in the fall of 2021.

In addition to training actors for stage and screen the BFA program will cover web series, voiceover, and new media. Collaboration with industry professionals in New York and Los Angeles will include a showcase for agents and casting directors in both cities.

“Graduates of this program will be adaptive and authentic artists able to perform in any form of media,” Ivan Fuller, chair of Rider’s Department of Theatre and Dance, said in a statement. “They will be completely immersed in two major cities for the entertainment industry with the physical, intellectual, vocal, imaginative, entrepreneurial skills and passion needed to be successful.”

“Students will receive the technical acting training, but will also know how to market themselves,” Fuller said. “They will have a full portfolio of skills ready to begin their professional careers.”

For more information on the program or to apply visit

Gift to PU Supports Biodiversity Work

A gift from Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron has enabled Princeton University to establish an endowed fund that will significantly increase support for environmental research related to biodiversity.

The Biodiversity Research Challenge Fund will support individuals or teams of Princeton faculty and students who pursue research crucial to preserving species and the interconnectivity of ecosystems. The program will be under the aegis of the High Meadows Environmental Institute (formerly the Princeton Environmental Institute).

“Currie and Tom Barron care deeply about preserving our planet’s biodiversity,” president Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement. “They have been dedicated and creative champions for environmental research at Princeton for several decades, supporting our approach to finding workable global solutions through interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists, policy makers, industry, and storytellers. We are deeply grateful to the Barrons for their vision and their commitment.”

“President Eisgruber has raised the bar for Princeton to draw on the strengths of many interdisciplinary fields to help us answer these very big questions,” Tom Barron said in a statement. “We need to reach people in ways that go beyond the science. The atmosphere, the oceans, the forests: All of those are going to be saved only if we understand that the Earth itself is a great story, a story that includes us. We need to tell that story in a much more compelling and inspiring way.”

A member of the Class of 1974, Barron later studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and earned law and business degrees from Harvard. He left a career in finance to become a writer and is now the author of 31 books. The former university trustee was influential in the founding of HMEI and remains as a member of its advisory board.

High Meadows Environmental Institute, Guyot Hall, Princeton University. Michael Celia, director.

Two Senior Communities Sold

A luxury active adult community in Hamilton Township and an assisted living facility in Princeton have new owners.

In Hamilton, the 75-unit Twin Ponds development off Yardville Hamilton Square Road was purchased from Crestwood Ventures LLC by an affiliate of the Kamson Corporation for $16.4 million.

The buyers intend to complete additional construction to add a further 69 units. Existing units have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and range from 900 to 1,125 square feet. The property was fully occupied at the time of the sale.

In Princeton, Acorn Glen Assisted Living has been acquired by Mount Laurel-based Brandywine Living. The complex on Mount Lucas Road will be known as Brandywine Living Serenade at Princeton.

The company, which now owns 20 communities in New Jersey, plans upgrades including restaurant-style dining and more spacious suites.


Mary Strunsky Wisnovsky, 81, on November 8. She worked for numerous area organizations including McCarter Theater, Princeton University, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, the Hillier Group, Princeton Senior Resource Center, Princeton Child Development Institute, Princeton Public Library, and the Institute for Advanced Study, where she got her start organizing the Einstein Centennial Symposium in 1979.

Marion D. Mennel, 95, on November 9. She retired as a principal audit account clerk for the State of New Jersey.

Ursula Dressler, 65, on November 6. She worked for Princeton Mortgage Company and Wegmans.