Foster McGowan Voorhees implemented reforms that benefited orphans, improved conditions for prison inmates, and protected the environment. A native of Clinton, young Foster was a brilliant student who entered Rutgers College at age 15 and graduated second in his class. He taught at the Rutgers Grammar School for three years then ran a successful law practice in Elizabeth. He served with distinction in the state General Assembly, and later, the state Senate. New Jersey voters elected him governor in 1899 at age 43, the youngest on record. During his term, he oversaw the creation of the Board of Children’s Guardians, allowing the removal of children from institutional almshouses to be placed with loving families. He segregated petty criminals from the serious, chronic offenders and encouraged parole and probation for those who committed minor infractions of the law. He is credited with protecting New Jersey residents from mosquito-borne illnesses by forming the Mosquito Extermination Commission, and saving the coastline by creating the Sewerage Commission. He retired from public office in 1902, when he became a life trustee of Rutgers. He died in 1927.
Reformer, New Jersey Governor
Rutgers College 1876
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of