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A Judge Who Delivered

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Jersey City, New Jersey, posthumously honored native daughter Judge Shirley Tolentino LLM ’82 last December, when the Bergen South Post Office was renamed for her.

Tolentino, the only African American woman in her class at Seton Hall University School of Law, was a deputy attorney general of the State of New Jersey before becoming the first African American woman on the Jersey City Municipal Court in 1976 and, subsequently, that court’s first African American female presiding judge.

In 1984, Tolentino, who had been a community activist since early in her legal career, became the first African American woman appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court. She remained on that bench until her death in 2010. In House discussion of the renaming, US Representative Blake Farenthold called Tolentino “a pillar of her community and a strong role model for women and men of all ages.”

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