2014 Virtual Commencement

KEYNOTE
SPEAKER

Camelia M. Valdes
Passaic County Prosecutor


Camelia M. Valdes
Passaic County Prosecutor

´╗┐On May 16, 2009, Governor Jon S. Corzine made history in the State of New Jersey when he nominated Camelia M. Valdes as the Passaic County Prosecutor. When Ms. Valdes was confirmed by the Legislature, she became the first Latina county prosecutor in the State of New Jersey, the first woman prosecutor in Passaic County, and the first lead prosecutor of Dominican ancestry in the United States. As the chief law enforcement official in Passaic County, Ms. Valdes is responsible for the management of approximately 185 office employees, a $19.2 million office budget, and the oversight of 16 municipal police departments, the police departments of William Paterson and Montclair State Universities, and the Passaic County Sheriff's Department.

Ms. Valdes has dedicated her professional career to government service. She served as Municipal Prosecutor in the City of Newark, as Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office in Newark. Her experience has ranged from investigating and prosecuting municipal offenses to complex federal crimes that have included human trafficking, healthcare fraud, financial offenses, and violent crimes.

Prior to joining the United States Attorney's Office, Ms. Valdes served as an Assistant Counsel to New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco, where she handled all aspects of criminal law. While at the Governor's Office, two of her most notable accomplishments included working on the bills that created the New Jersey Drug Courts and the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry. Ms. Valdes is the immediate past president of the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey. She served as the 25th President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and as a trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Born to Dominican parents in the Bronx, NY and raised in Newark, NJ, Ms. Valdes is a product of the Newark public school system. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Seton Hall University in 1993, her law degree from Rutgers Law School-Newark in 1996, and her LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple University in 2001. As the proud mother of two girls, Isabela and Elsa, ages 9 and 7, Ms. Valdes endeavors to raise awareness about autism and special needs education.

In October 2011, Hispanic Business Magazine named Ms. Valdes one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States. In December 2011, Honorable Leonel Fernandez, President of the Dominican Republic, named Ms. Valdes one of the 100 Most Influential Dominicans Living Abroad.