AIA New Jersey Pays Tribute to the Late Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver

August 3, 2023

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AIA New Jersey Pays Tribute to the Late Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver

A long and distinguished career of public service – that is the defining legacy of the late Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. Her journey through the Local, County, and State levels of Government, marked by key roles such as Speaker of the Assembly and Lt. Governor, uniquely prepared her for the pivotal position of Commissioner of Community Affairs. It was in this capacity that Oliver exhibited unwavering dedication and leadership, leaving a lasting impact on issues that resonated deeply with architects and communities across the State of New Jersey.

Throughout her tenure as Commissioner of Community Affairs, Sheila Oliver demonstrated remarkable competence and vision, overseeing critical issue areas that directly affected the lives of countless individuals. Housing, an area of immense importance to architects and residents alike, received her keen attention. Oliver recognized the significance of affordable and accessible housing as a cornerstone of thriving communities, and she tirelessly worked to create policies that fostered sustainable, inclusive development.

In her role as Commissioner, she also oversaw building codes and standards which are an integral part of our member architects’ health, safety, and welfare mandate. Through her leadership, Oliver sought to strike a balance between robust standards and the need to support innovative designs that would push New Jersey forward.

Moreover, her responsibility for local government services provided her with a unique opportunity to strengthen the bonds between state authorities and local communities. She understood that collaboration and effective governance at the local level were essential in addressing the specific needs and aspirations of stakeholders across the state.

Oliver’s presence as a trailblazer in the realm of public service earned the respect of AIA New Jersey architects engaged in civic advocacy. Her ascent to becoming the first African American woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey was a watershed moment, breaking barriers and inspiring a generation of aspiring leaders from diverse backgrounds.

As we mourn the loss of Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, we extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and the entire Administration. New Jersey has lost a true difference-maker, a visionary leader, and a compassionate public servant. Her contributions to the architectural landscape of the state, coupled with her unyielding dedication to bettering the lives of her fellow citizens, will be forever etched in the annals of history.


With respect, we bid the Lieutenant Governor a fond farewell, 

Ronald C. Weston, AIA, LEED AP
AIA New Jersey, 2023 President
Matthew S. Halpin
AIA New Jersey, Interim Executive Director

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