Lonnie Brandon ’72

Lonnie Brandon ’72

Lonnie Brandon, a native of Montclair, New Jersey, is a retired recreation professional who has been active in athletics and public service for almost his entire life. He matriculated at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, earning his B.A. degree in History.  He played football for four years at Wagner and was a founder of “Black Concern,” a student activist organization of which he served as president for two years.

Lonnie began his career with the Township of Montclair as an Activities Director in the Department of Parks and Recreation in December 1973.  In 1980, he was promoted to Superintendent of Parks Services. For the next 12 years, he oversaw the daily maintenance of the 175-acre park system and the development and implementation of capital improvements.  In 1990, in addition to his duties as Parks Superintendent, Lonnie maintained Montclair’s urban forest of over 30,000 shade trees. 

In 1992, Lonnie was promoted to Director of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs, becoming the first African-American department head in his hometown.  Under his leadership, Montclair PRCA developed one of the most comprehensive leisure service programs in the State of New Jersey.  In addition to traditional recreation programs, the department introduced innovative initiatives such as the African American Heritage Parade & Festival; First Night Montclair; Monday Night Jazz; the Rites of Passage program; Terry’s Serendipity Café; expanded senior citizen programming, including social and fitness activities; and the ArtsWorks summer theater program for high school and college students. 

Through the years, Lonnie has served his community through participation on various boards, including the New Jersey Parks and Recreation Association, where he is a founding member of the Ethnic Minority Society; the Board of Trustees of the Montclair Child Development Center, Inc.; the Essex County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame; the Urban Center for Public/Private Partnerships; the Jersey Knights AAU basketball program; the Montclair Art Museum African American Cultural Committee; and the Montclair African American Heritage Committee.  Additionally, he served as President of the West Essex ASA Umpires Association. He was a lay representative to the District Ethics Committee for the New Jersey Supreme Court Office of Attorney Ethics.  Lonnie also served two terms on the Disciplinary Oversight Committee that oversees the fiscal management of the Office of Attorney Ethics.