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Statement By Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick and Rutgers-Newark Interim Chancellor Philip Yeagle on the Death of U.S. Representative Donald Payne

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The Rutgers University community mourns the passing of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne.  Congressman Payne was a great friend of Rutgers and a constant advocate for access and opportunity in higher education. He championed Pell Grants, school-to-work programs and the College Cost Reduction Act to benefit students nationwide, and he had a special relationship with Rutgers University in Newark, located in the heart of his Congressional district.

For decades Congressman Payne brought an annual pre-college fair to Rutgers-Newark involving 500 to 1,000 children from the Greater Newark area, and many of our university’s students were recipients of his scholarship program or served as interns in his office on Capitol Hill. Don Payne represented New Jersey with distinction and dignity throughout his 12 terms, and he was a towering figure in international relations, particularly U.S. relationships in Africa. He leaves a legacy of helping people make a better life for themselves – in his district and around the world. Our hearts are with his family, his colleagues and the people of the 10th Congressional District whom he served so well.