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It was a cold, rainy Wednesday on November 10th in 1954 when five Chartered Life Underwriters,

  1. Joseph P. Burns, CLU

  2. Theodore H. Worthington, CLU

  3. Edward Lobley, CLU

  4. Frederick W. Floyd, CLU, and

  5. John J. Gallagher, CLU

met on the 2nd floor of Kenney’s Restaurant in Camden and over lunch discussed the formation of a CLU Chapter here in Southern New Jersey.

The Chapter was formed on December 8, 1954 with nine members petitioning the American Society of Chartered Life Underwriters for a local chapter charter.

Official recognition of the Chapter was granted on March 9, 1955.  Our first “official” Chapter meeting took place in the Julian S. Myrick meeting room of The American College.

Joseph P. Burns, CLU was elected as the first Chapter President and served in that position until July of 1956.  Annual dues that first year were $18, of which, $15 went to the Society.

Actual incorporation of the Chapter occurred in March of 1960.  It is interesting to note here that the American Society of CLU frowned on Chapter incorporation at that time,  so we may have started a trend that is now a must.

Chapter membership lagged in the early years and in 1966 totaled 15.  An obvious recruiting drive took place because by June of 1967 our membership was up to 67.

As early as 1955, the Chapter arranged for a part “A” course to be given at Rutgers University in Camden with 32 students in the class.  Some of those who signed up as students admitted to being inspired by a talk given by Dean Herbert D. Graebner of The American College at a local life underwriters meeting, also in the year 1955.

In October that same year, the Chapter was fortunate to have as our guest the most distinguished Dr. Solomon S. Huebner.  There were 275 persons in attendance for his inspiring talk.  The meeting was open to all Life Underwriters, CLUs, Attorneys, CPAs and Trust Officers (a forecast of things to come).

During the 1960s and 1970s, and on into the 1980s the Chapter continued to be a national leader in the sponsoring of Huebner School and Advanced Courses.

In 1982, the first Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designations were awarded by The American College.  There were 20 of our Chapter members in that first class.  By percentage of membership, the Chapter has exceeded the national averages for ChFC, MSFS and MSM designations and degrees among our members.

Since the founding of the Chapter in 1954, we have seen the names of our Alma Mater, the National Society, and our Chapter change.  We have seen the introduction of two additional professional designations, two Masters Degrees, and the voluntary (now mandatory for new designees) commitment to PACE, the Professional Achievement in Education program.

In 1989, the Chapter achieved another milestone when Lydia P. Sheckels, CLU, ChFC was installed as the first female Chapter President.

One of several highlights of the 1992-1993 Chapter year was the national recognition of for Golden Key Society Chairman, Thomas R. Veevers, Sr., CLU, ChFC for leading the Chapter to first place among 223 chapters by securing 44 new GKS members.  This, plus outstanding accomplishments in membership, video teleconference participation and Huebner course registrations led the Chapter to a second place finish in the national “Chapter of The Year” competition.  At the conclusion of the year, a long-time objective was achieved with the establishment of the Southern Shore Branch of the Chapter to meet the needs of the Jersey Shore CLUs and ChFCs.

Our journey to the “top” was capped by winning “1993-1994 Chapter of the Year” recognition which included an all expense paid trip to the National Conference in Seattle.  In recognition of their leadership, which resulted in this first place honor, the Chapter selected Randall S. Cole, CLU, ChFC and Dale A. Vetter, CLU, ChFC to share the award and represent the Chapter.

Membership continued to grow and by November, 1994 totaled 218 regular, student and associate members.

With our close proximity to the educational resources of the American Society and The American College, our commitment to professional education remained strong throughout the years.

And, through it all, we have remained true to the principles and dedication of five CLUs who met on a cold, rainy Wednesday on November 10th in 1954 . . . .

(to be continued)

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