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William Best

Honorary Degree Recipient: Doctor of Laws

William Best
Courtesy of William Best

Rutgers is proud to bestow upon William E. Best an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Best is senior vice president, northeast market manager at PNC, championing the bank’s commitment to accelerating growth and prosperity for low to moderate income segments, including community and economic development corporations, small businesses, and women- and minority-owned enterprises in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Boston.  

Best returned to PNC after his governor-appointed role as the first executive director of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, a state-financing agency, where he served six years under three administrations. During his tenure, Best established the brain trust, public-private partnerships, infrastructure capitalization, and organizational talent to transform the Redevelopment Authority from a one-year appropriation to a sustainable agency investing $1.3 billion of financial and technical resources into urban neighborhood redevelopment projects. 

Prior to leading the Redevelopment Authority, Best pioneered commercial banking initiatives in accordance with the Community Reinvestment Act as vice president of community development for PNC and community reinvestment officer at BNY Mellon.

Best’s strategic vision, broad business acumen, and consensus-building have enabled him to provide actionable insight and financial stewardship to institutional boards. Reelected chair of Rutgers University’s Board of Governors and co-vice chair of the search committee selecting the university’s 21st president, he is currently affiliated with boards for New Jersey Future, New Jersey Regional Plan Association, Newark Alliance, and Newark Regional Business Partnership. 

He is a former chair and an honorary lifetime member of the International Economic Development Council, the world’s largest professional association for economic developers, with over 5,000 members worldwide. As chair, he instituted a comprehensive Ethics Education and Enforcement Policy; strategies for recession recovery; and educational, federal, and organizational partnerships.

Best was unanimously elected to serve two terms as chair of Rutgers University’s Board of Trustees, commissioning a Student Aid Task Force resulting in a sustainable fund supporting low-income student educational opportunities. Following his second term, he was elected trustee emeritus. 

He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from North Carolina Central University and completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Leadership Program