Trenton – With great sadness, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) shares the news of the passing of Nelly Celi, a champion for students and a valued member of the HESAA Board.
Nelly was a strong and consistent advocate for literacy and higher education throughout her remarkable career, including most recently as the leader of the Paterson Reads program at the Paterson Education Fund. Her personal journey to achieve a postsecondary degree inspired her career of serving the students of New Jersey. Nelly worked effectively and passionately to advance student success, especially for first-generation students and underrepresented students of color.
Nelly’s work has impacted the lives of countless students and families – well beyond her hometown of Paterson. She joined the statewide Board of the Educational Opportunity Fund in 2017, and last year her colleagues elected her Board Chair. Once she became EOF Board Chair, Nelly began serving as a member of HESAA’s Board, where she was committed to providing financial aid resources to enable the New Jersey students with the greatest need to pursue their dreams.
The entire HESAA family will keep Nelly and her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers as we acknowledge this profound loss.