Address to the Campus: Feb 9, 2012

Good Afternoon

Thank you for coming.  It is a privilege and with a serious sense of responsibility that I address you today.  In addition it is an honor to bring you and our whole campus personal greetings from Director General Bokova of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO; I will explain that exciting development later.

This is a critical time for our campus of Rutgers.  Rutgers University is searching for a new President. In addition, our campus has not had a national search for our leadership position in over 30 years, and we deserve one.  We must therefore prepare for a new era in the history of Rutgers University.  After a review, it is clear that we are not currently ready.  To get ready requires a lot of hard work from each of us.

How do we do this?

First let us begin with who we are. 

We are excellence:  excellence in scholarship, excellence in education, and excellence in opportunity for our students.  We are second to none within Rutgers.  We are proud of who we are and of what we represent.

We are excellence in scholarship, from a Pulitzer Prize, to a PECASE award from the President of the United States, to one of the top MFA in creative writing programs in the country, to a School of Criminal Justice that is arguably becoming the top program in the country, to a leading brain research center with its new fMRI.  I will celebrate this excellence in greater detail later.

We stand for excellence in education.  Surveys performed by Carnegie Communications show that students come to our campus because they can get the high quality Rutgers education on a campus that is easy to get to.  And many of our students prefer our campus of Rutgers because their faculty know them by name and care about them individually.  Our students bring their drive, their commitment, and their diversity to this campus and they deserve the very best education we can offer them.  They are national champions from the Fed Challenge team from Economics to the RBS team in CFA Institute’s Global Investment Research Challenge.  Our Honors College challenges students to reach for the highest levels of accomplishment.

We are excellence in opportunity for our students:  our alumni attest to the opportunity this campus embodied for them yesterday.  Alumni of our campus talk of commuting to campus, of working and going to school at the same time, of being the first in their family to go to college, and of coming from families that had immigrated to this country and this state within living memory.  We continue to be dedicated to that excellence in opportunity to you who are students here today.  It is not surprising, therefore that the Washington Monthly ranks our campus highly, #16 nationwide, in their social mobility scale, a direct manifestation of that educational opportunity we offer you as students.

Today’s campus was forged in the events in Conklin Hall 40 years ago when our campus struggled to articulate a vision of opportunity for all students, including those of the community of which our campus is a part. Today this campus has reached far toward that vision.  For example, we are justifiably proud that today, our EOF students graduate at the same rate as students from the campus as a whole.  At this time I would like to acknowledge the leader of the EOF program for much of the campus, Associate Dean Deborah Walker McCall, and the leader in the nursing school, Assistant Dean Valerie Smith Stephens.

And yes, we are the most diverse campus of a national university in America and we offer our students singular advantages from our diversity. Over 70 languages, multiple religions and ethnicities from around the world are in the homes of our students, enhanced by several hundred international students on our campus, and all this converges on one location at Rutgers University Newark.

We are one of the most engaged campuses in America, with many arms of outreach to our community and we are recognized nationally for it.  The one person most responsible for this status here on campus today is Vice Chancellor Marcia Brown.  Will Marcia please stand and be recognized.

And let us not forget that we are a proud and an integral part of a larger whole, a national university, one of the oldest in the country and an international leader in many fields: Rutgers University, a member of the AAU and one of the leading public research universities in the US.  We are proud to be an important part of Rutgers University and we will stand shoulder to shoulder as a community to doom any effort to cleave us from Rutgers.

The Newark campus of Rutgers therefore brings great strengths to the university as a whole.  The Newark campus must take its place alongside the other campuses of Rutgers with pride in its accomplishments and with a determination that it is, and will be, second to none.  Therefore we will focus on excellence:  excellence in education, excellence in scholarship and excellence in opportunity for our students, as we look to our immediate future.