Thomas Edison, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Althea Gibson, Vince Lombardi -- these are five of the final 25 nominees announced recently for election to the first class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame, a new museum dedicated to celebrating the leaders and legends associated with the state.

"We have so many big names from New Jersey," said Bart Oates, former New York Giant captain who now heads up the Hall of Fame Board, "that it was difficult paring it down to the top 25. The list of those who didn't make it, including Paul Robeson, Philip Roth, Count Basie and Bon Jovi, is just as impressive as those who did."

Not only will the New Jersey Hall of Fame honor those who have made significant contributions to the state, the country and in many cases the world, it will also provide important role models for young people. The board plans to raise funds and construct a museum which will be a learning center where visitors can learn about those who have excelled and made a difference. Currently, the Hall exists only on the Web.

The nominees are:

In arts & entertainment, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Meryl Streep.

In sports, Yogi Berra, Bill Bradley, Larry Doby, Althea Gibson and Vince Lombardi.

In history, Clara Barton, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Walt Whitman and Woodrow Wilson.

In enterprise, Buzz Aldrin, Malcolm Forbes, Robert Wood Johnson, Mary Roebling and David Sarnoff.

In a general category, Justice William Brennan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, General Norman Schwarzkopf and Harriet Tubman.