Nina Mitchell Wells is a Democrat who served as the 32nd Secretary of State of New Jersey. Mitchell was born in Washington, D.C. on September 9, 1950. She graduated from Immaculate Conception Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school, in 1968. Mitchell began her college career at Mount St. Joseph College in Cincinnati, Ohio, but transferred to Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Boston, Massachusetts, before the end of her freshman year in 1970. She received her BA in 1972, the same year she married her longtime love, Theodore V. Wells Jr. Teresa and Philip are the couple’s two children.
In 1976, Wells received her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts. The family briefly relocated to Los Angeles, California before returning to the East Coast and settling in New Jersey. Wells began her career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Law Department of the City of Newark, as well as a legal advisor to the Newark Central Planning Board and the Real Estate Commission.
She began her career at Bell Communications, then moved on to become the head of the Division of Rate Counsel in the Public Advocate’s Department (1990-1994), before becoming Vice President and Senior Counsel at the CIT group.
Wells then worked as the Assistant Dean for the Minority Student Program at Rutgers University in New Jersey before becoming the Vice President of Public Affairs at the Schering-Plough Corporation.
Wells was appointed Secretary of State by New Jersey’s 54th Governor, Jon S. Corzine, in 2006. Her responsibilities as chief elections officer included overseeing state elections, as well as the state archives, historical affairs, cultural and arts programs, literacy, Native American Affairs, and tourism. Wells served as Secretary of State until 2010.
Following his tenure as Secretary of State, Wells served on the boards of a number of secondary and collegiate institutions, cultural foundations, and community organizations, including the College of St. Elizabeth, The Newark Museum, and the Victoria Foundation.
Over the course of her more than 32 years as a public servant, Wells has received numerous awards for her legal work and philanthropy. She has been inducted into the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame and has honorary degrees from St. Elizabeth College and Drew University. Wells is currently the President of the Schering-Plough Foundation, and she and her husband live in New Jersey.