Edward Bambach, the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority's first and longest-serving executive director and a national public finance leader for higher education, died Sunday morning. He was 90.
Bambach was appointed to lead the NJEFA in 1967 and in 26 years oversaw more than 200 bond issues totaling in excess of $1.7 billion for more than 100 higher education projects throughout the Garden State.
He guided the NJEFA through challenging times including the 1980s when the authority and its clients faced a high interest rate environment. He also fought back federal efforts to restrict the issuance of tax-exempt debt and played a leading role in a national debate that preceded the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
"His contributions to the State of New Jersey and its colleges and universities are immeasurable," NJEFA Executive Director Jerry Spector said in a statement. "On behalf of NJEFA, our clients and colleagues in higher education finance, we remember and honor Ed for his vision, his leadership, his tremendous dedication to public service and the advancement of New Jersey higher education."
Bambach influence spread beyond New Jersey when he spearheaded the founding of the National Association of Higher Educational Facilities Authorities in 1987 and served as its first president. NAHEFA later merged with the National Council of Health Facilities Finance Authorities and became the National Association of Health and Educational Facilities Finance Authorities in 2008. The organization was formed to represent the interests of higher education bond issuers in issues that went before Congress and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Bambach, a Trenton State College graduate, received a master's degree in education from Rutgers and later conducted post-graduate work at Columbia University in higher education administration. He received numerous awards and honors for his work in higher education including a service award from the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities and Jersey City State College as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rider University. In 1986 he became an All-time Athletic Hall of Famer at The College of New Jersey for soccer.