A Man for all Students: Gerald Massenburg
In both his career and his personal life, Associate Chancellor for Student Life Gerald Massenburg lets his actions speak for him - and they say volumes.
For instance, Massenburg advises students “not to limit themselves,” and his life is a perfect example. He’s continuously explored new ideas and tried new challenges, from a part-time job as a building manager while a student at Kean University, to overseeing residence halls at Slippery Rock State College in Pennsylvania, to coordinating student activities at Rutgers-Camden.
Here in Newark, he shapes the student experience through his leadership of student life activities, and services such as athletics, dining, health and counseling, and housing. As campus Veteran Services Coordinator, Massenburg works with student veterans, academic and administrative departments, and student services to address veterans’ special needs and ease their transition back to civilian life. “Chancellor Massenburg is an indispensible resource for us; it’s a great feeling to know that he’s in our corner and we can go to him about anything, and know he’ll give us 100 percent of his effort,” says Mark Pollard, president of the R-N Student Veterans Organization (SVO). “The SVO has come a long way since its inception in fall 2009, and Chancellor Massenburg has been a huge factor in that.”
But ask Massenburg about his efforts with the SVO, and he makes no mention of his contributions as veterans coordinator; instead he talks about how inspired and humbled he is by the veterans and their will to move forward with their lives.
As a deacon and trustee of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Haddonfield, New Jersey, he preaches the merits of “servant leadership” and serves in any way needed. That “shoulder to the wheel and get the job done” attitude, plus his great sense of humor and natural warmth, has been his hallmark at Rutgers-Newark since he arrived in 1997, making him just about everyone’s favorite man about campus.
Although his career demands long hours, long train commutes from South Jersey, and being on call 24/7, Massenburg is a self-described “homebody” whose personal life centers around his family and his church. While working at Slippery Rock, he would come home on weekends to spend time with his parents and then-fiancée, now wife, Hilda. His family also includes daughters Aminah and Akirah. Aminah, a Rutgers-Camden graduate, also completed her juris doctor at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, while Akirah is a Rutgers-New Brunswick alumna. Massenburg has increased his home responsibilities so that Hilda can work toward her MSW at Rutgers-Camden.