Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University, has been honored with the Innovator of the Year Award by the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s annual Business Leadership Awards Gala reflects on the accomplishments and achievements of local businesses by recognizing noteworthy industry leaders. Each year, the chamber awards a business leader, entrepreneur, innovator and community leader. The innovator award goes to an individual, business or organization instrumental in promoting change and innovation in their industry, their field of interest or in the communities of the Princeton-Mercer Region.

“Receiving the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber’s Innovator of the Year is an honor for me and for Thomas Edison State University,” said Hancock. “Serving the community has always been a passion, and I will accept this award on behalf of all our students and staff who are active innovators each and every day.”

Hancock has demonstrated the transformational power of innovative ecosystems that leverage the value of people and technology to improve lives and increase economic opportunities throughout her career. Highlights of TESU’s current innovative ecosystem include intuitive student success support systems, life and career aligned healthcare education and skills credentialing to promote equity and opportunity.

Dr. Kemi Alli, chair, Thomas Edison State University Board of Trustees, and chief executive officer, Henry J. Austin Health Center, noted, “Over the past 18 months of the pandemic, Dr. Hancock led the University in developing increasingly effective online educational strategies to serve the career aspirations of adult students, particularly for those displaced or disrupted by the COVID recession. She offered the University’s resources to enable nursing students and staff to deliver COVID vaccines to Trenton residents – with more than 10,000 doses administered at sites across the city as well as to shut-in Trenton residents. Ultimately, she has created and nurtured an environment that constantly drives innovation across the University, a culture that makes TESU continuously growing in service to their students, employers and communities.”

The Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber is a membership organization committed to promoting business growth within the Mercer County region and surrounding areas. The chamber will honor the winners at the 2021 Business Leadership Awards Gala on Dec. 2. Also accepting awards will be the Entrepreneur of the Year, Christian Amato, CMA; Community Leader of the Year, Drew Dyson, Princeton Senior Resource Center; and Business Leader of the Year, Adam Lenkowsky, Bristol Myers Squibb. With more than 10,000 individual contacts and more than 1,600 member companies, the chamber membership is primarily focused in five central New Jersey counties and stretches as far as New York, Philadelphia and Canada.