Notable Alum: Kim Guadagno

Layla Halterman,

The Ursinus alum profile recognizes former Lt. Governor of New Jersey, Kim Guadagno ’80. Guadagno grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, and earlier in her career held positions including assistant N.J. general attorney and deputy director in the Division of Criminal Justice. Guadagno was Lt. Governor of N.J. for eight years. She was also the Republican nominee for governor of New Jersey in 2017, losing the race to Democrat Phil Murphy.

Guadagno attended Ursinus because “it gave me the most options.” During her time here, she was a resident advisor (RA) for Todd Hall and a sister in the Phi Sigma sorority her senior year. Additionally, Guadagno was a proud member and president of the student government. Those activities and organizations were highlights of her college experience. “There was nothing I did not like about Ursinus,” she said. 

Academically, Guadagno loved and studied political science and economics, and “was an intern to Dr. Miller, who passed away almost 20 years ago.” Dr. Miller was a professor in the political science department who influenced Guadagno.

Guadagno furthered her law studies at American University in Washington, D.C. “I always found myself argumentative and liked to see both sides of the story in the day when you could have a different view of politics,” she said. As an attorney, she quickly “learned how to make an argument in a courtroom and then walk outside and be friends with the people I was arguing against. That’s how politics used to be.” Guadagno did not go into detail about her views on current politics but rather chose to leave this up to people’s personal interpretation. 

Guadagno served as Lt. Governor under N.J. Governor Chris Christie. Both she and Christie were former U.S. attorneys but did not become fully acquainted with each other until they reached the governors’ offices. “I was an assistant in the office but not at the same time,” Guadagno said. “So I didn’t really know Chris Christie when he asked me to [be] his Lt. Governor.” She is proud to be the first Lt. Governor of New Jersey and labels working for the state as “fabulous.” Guadagno said everyone makes mistakes and believes there are things she could have done better in her position. “I regret not spending time with my three children and spending too much time on politics,” she stated.

During her first week on the job as Lt. Governor Guadagno was greeted by former associate dean of students (1978-86) Dave Rebuck, who called her by her maiden name, ‘Ms. McFadden.’ That moment prompts Gaudagno to share a message with students today: “It is a very, very small world and it gets smaller as you get older. The people and the friends you meet now at Ursinus will be the same people you will meet later, especially in this world of Zoom and social media,” Guadagno began. “Make good friends now and stay in touch with them because some of them will be Lt. Governors…[or] be where Dave Rebuck is now, the head of casinos in Atlantic City and that could be very helpful.” 

Guadagno also serves as CEO and president of “Fulfill” — formally known as the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean counties — an organization that strives to fight hunger by feeding the less-fortunate and fulfilling their needs. “We have done 2.6 million meals within the last 130 days,” Guadagno exclaimed.