Recipient Profile

2011 Mother Xavier Award Recipient

2011 Mother Xavier Award Recipient

A biology major at CSE, Judge Wauters began her career as a research assistant at Exxon Corporation from 1967 to 1968 where she worked on anti-pollution studies. Afterwards, she earned her teacher certificate from Montclair State University and taught biology with an emphasis on the environment at Toms River High School South from 1979 to 1983.

In April 1984, the road caved in 1,500 feet from her house in Toms River. The cause was a leaking Ciba-Geigy pipeline that ran 20 miles underground disposing chemicals 2,600 feet off the shore. The incident inspired her to found the Ocean County Citizens for Clean Water with other concerned neighbors. Together, they exposed the company’s operation, gained public support, and stopped the pollution.

Although both her father and brother were lawyers, she never considered that career until the pipeline broke. "It came to me then," she says. "I realized that as a lawyer I could do a lot to protect the environment. That motivated me to go to law school."

While a Rutgers University law student, she interned with the EPA. Following graduation, she became a prosecutor in Ocean County where she managed the Environmental Unit. In November 2004, she was confirmed as an Administrative Law Judge and, in July 2009, as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, serving Ocean County.

The judge credits lessons learned as a CSE student as major influences in her life. "To attend an all Women’s College and to know that the professors were achieving women in their own fields is an immensely powerful message. The College exists for women to achieve. Every student leadership position was filled by a female. That alone set the standard of what you expected in life, of what you wanted to achieve."

For present day CSE students, Judge Wauters had this advice, "The most important thing is to follow your passion, intuition, and heart. No matter what you decide to do, you have to feel that it is important, that you are contributing. Coming from the College of Saint Elizabeth, it is a social commitment that stays with you."

Judge Wauters is deeply grateful to husband, John, and sons John and David, daughters-in-law Karen and Jennifer, and grandchildren Ryan, Madeline, Alison, and James, whose support has been critical to her success.