More than 90 people gathered in person and virtually to attend a presentation on March 23 by Jane Scimeca, a Brookdale professor and author, who presented a fascinating look into the life of Geraldine Thompson, a woman who made an enormous difference in the state of New Jersey and Monmouth County.

Girl with long hair standing at podium in front of a microphone. Tall plants are behind her.Sara Hosbach, a student at Brookdale Community College and communications manager of the Women in Learning and Leadership club (WILL), welcomed everyone. WILL is a nine-credit certificate program at Brookdale whose mission is to empower women and students to become the future leaders of our local and global communities. On behalf of WILL, she thanked the AAUW and Professor Alvarez for their influential work and Professor Scimeca for sharing her knowledge and inspiration to support and celebrate Women’s History Month. 

Scimeca, authoring a book about Geraldine, teased the audience by revealing a bit about Geraldine’s personal life and more about how Geraldine’s accomplishments represented democracy in action. During the mid-1960s, the AAUW played a significant role in establishing a community college in Monmouth County. With the leadership and backing from the AAUW NMCB and others, the county freeholders decided to purchase part of Brookdale Farm along Newman Springs Road, land that was famous for breeding fine horses and owned by the Thompson family, honoring the legacy of Geraldine’s numerous contributions to the county. The school opened its doors in the fall of 1969, but it had taken over five years of research, persistence, and advocacy to make that happen. 

Scimeca’s thoughtful and informative presentation closed by reminding us that every time we go to Brookdale or walk through Thompson Park, we are beneficiaries of Geraldine Thompson’s intelligence and generosity.  

This special program was hosted by members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Northern Monmouth County Branch (NMCB), Barbara Withers and Alice MacPhee, Program Co-directors, Professors Sue Monroe and Roseanne Alvarez, AAUW College/University Reps at Brookdale Community College, and Karen Topham, Communications Co-director, former Brookdale librarian.  

We look forward to hearing more details about Geraldine Thompson’s fascinating political and personal life from Scimeca during the Smithsonian Voices and Votes: Democracy in America exhibition at Brookdale Community College from August 20 to October 2, 2022. 


Photo left to right, Sue Monroe, Jane Scimeca, Dinneen Jackson, chairman of Smithsonian exhibition, and Roseanne Alvarez