Honorary Degree Recipients
The Honorable Rodney P. Frelinghuysen
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen is serving his eleventh term as the Representative for New Jersey's 11th Congressional District. In the 114th Congress, Frelinghuysen serves as New Jersey's senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and on three key appropriations subcommittees: Energy and Water Development, Homeland Security and Defense, where he serves as Chairman.
Frelinghuysen represents 54 municipalities in the 11th Congressional District, including communities in Morris, Sussex, Passaic, and Essex Counties.
Throughout his time in Congress, Frelinghuysen has worked to lower taxes and provide for a strong national defense. He has been a tireless advocate for New Jersey priorities earning the title “New Jersey’s ‘Go-to-Guy.’” from the New York Times. Frelinghuysen strongly advocates for New Jersey, focusing on the expansion of mass transit, improving homeland security, preserving open space, creating jobs and opportunities, and supporting our military personnel and our veterans.
Frelinghuysen graduated from Hobart College in 1969. After graduation, Frelinghuysen completed basic training at New Jersey’s Fort Dix and served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. He was a member of the 93rd Engineering Battalion (Construction) stationed in the Mekong Delta.
After returning home from Vietnam in 1971, Frelinghuysen began his work on behalf of the people of New Jersey when he became Morris County's State and Federal Aid Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. From 1974 to 1983, Frelinghuysen served three-terms as a member of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, where he was chosen as its director in 1980.
Frelinghuysen went on to serve in the New Jersey General Assembly in 1983. He served as Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee from 1988-89 and again from 1992 to 1994. In Trenton, our state capital, Frelinghuysen created a record as one of the most fiscally conservative members of the legislature.
He also quickly built a reputation for outstanding service to his constituents. Through countless events in communities across the 11th District, Rodney actively seeks out and listens to the opinions and advice of his constituents. He holds regular town hall meetings, visits dozens of schools, attends hundreds of community events, and personally responds to over 75,000 letters, emails, faxes and telephone calls each year.
In 1995, Frelinghuysen was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He was immediately selected to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees all aspects of the federal budget, because of his Appropriations experience in Trenton.
Frelinghuysen serves as Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Through his work on this subcommittee, Frelinghuysen has become a well respected voice on foreign, military and intelligence affairs. He has made numerous trips to Afghanistan and the Middle East to see the situation through the lens of those New Jerseyans serving our nation.
Frelinghuysen is well known for championing the important work being done at New Jersey’s vital military installations, especially Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Township. Picatinny is the U.S. Army’s premier research and development facility. He also advocates on behalf of all New Jersey military installations: Joint Base Dix, Lakehurst and McGuire Air Force Base; Earle Naval Base and the 177th Fighter Wing out of Atlantic City.
Frelinghuysen also understands that we must support our troops both while in the battlefield and after they return home. As a veteran himself, he recognizes how important it is to care for those who risked their lives in the defense of our freedom. To honor our veterans, Frelinghuysen closely supports the mission of Lyons and East Orange VA Medical Centers, two healthcare support hospitals serving many veterans in northern New Jersey, and continues to ensure our veterans received their promised benefits of greater health care, housing, employment and educational opportunities. To make access to VA health care more convenient for our local veterans, Frelinghuysen secured federal funding to open a VA outpatient clinic in Morris County in 2000 and renovate a facility at the Lyons VA to support Homeless Veterans Treatment Program and supports Veterans job fairs in the Congressional District.
Frelinghuysen is well known in New Jersey and on Capitol Hill for his fiscally conservative views on government spending, taxes and the economy. His focus is keeping the tax burden low and encouraging economic development has earned him the “Hero of the Taxpayer” Award from the Americans for Tax Reform, as well as praise from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Frelinghuysen is active in numerous volunteer and charitable organizations. He is a member of the American Legion Post 59 and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3401. His Congressional outreach initiatives include his Youth Advisory Committee and the Picatinny Working Group.
Frelinghuysen resides in Harding Township, New Jersey, with his wife, Virginia. He has two daughters. He was born on April 29, 1946.