The city was empty save the press and some residents who ignored the order to evacuate. Superstorm Sandy was hours from its expected landfall in Cape May, New Jersey. Mayor Edward Mahaney (CLA, ‘67) was at his desk in city hall making sure his city was braced for the worst. He was already thinking about the rebuilding. On April 20th, 2013 as part of Temple’s Alumni Weekend, the College of Liberal Arts will host Mahaney as he talks about the steps Cape May, the state of New Jersey, and the nation are taking following one of the most destructive storms in history.
Having spent his summers in Cape May since his time as an undergraduate at Temple, and serving as a public servant of the city nearly uninterrupted since 1991, few could have handled this natural disaster with so much familiarity and expertise. By employing all necessary resources, Mahaney was able to evacuate more than 3,000 city residents in the days leading up to the storm, while still accommodating the national news presence that had converged on his city. When it became clear that Cape May had fared better than their northern neighbors, Mahaney made the decision to send his own city’s emergency workers to help in the other shore points, returning a favor from more than 30 years ago when it was Cape May that bore the brunt of a hurricane.
Throughout his entire career, superstorm Sandy being no exception, Mahaney admits to often relying on the liberal arts education he received at Temple. He credits the diversity here with giving him a realistic approach to life which in turn was supplemented by the multi-disciplinary approach of his courses. Chief among the skills he took from his time at the College of Liberal Arts is his ability to develop and implement solutions to complicated problems.
These skills will doubtlessly continue to aid Mahaney as the rebuilding effort begins in Cape May and across New Jersey. Faced with a threat to New Jersey’s vital tourism industry and sweeping new regulations, on April 20th Mahaney will outline the lasting impact of the policy changes surrounding superstorm Sandy. The College of Liberal Arts looks forward to hosting Mayor Mahaney as he discusses this important national issue and provides an unmatched depth to a story that dominated the headlines.