Chancellor Nancy Cantor on the Legacy of Marc Berson (NLAW ’68)

The Rutgers University – Newark family celebrates the life and legacy of our cherished alumnus, visionary urbanist, and lifelong champion of Newark, Marc Berson. Thoughtful, determined, and compassionate, Marc set an example as a principled business leader and philanthropist while also sharing his wisdom generously with longtime Newarkers, newcomers, and rising generations alike.

The endearing terms in which Marc is being remembered reflect the powerful resonance of his deep, purposeful engagement across the sectors of our community. Born “at the Beth”—his beloved Newark Beth Israel Medical Center—and raised in Newark from a young age, he did much more than leave an indelible mark in every domain he entered. From real estate and business to the arts to health care and beyond, he conveyed through his person how much he cared about people and made transformative contributions that laid a foundation for growth for generations to come.

Having attended and graduated from Rutgers Law School-Newark during the city’s crucible years of the late 1960s, Marc dedicated much of his energy for the rest of his life to building Newark’s capacity to rise ever higher. One small example is the collaborations that Marc catalyzed to transform the fortunes of the Washington Park area, where he played a central role in helping situate Rutgers Business School at 1 Washington Park along with, he developed the pivotal asset of 494 Broad Street, and became a key investor in Newark Venture Partners, which really represents in many ways the future of Newark’s prosperity as an incubator of tech startups that will help drive Newark’s economy forward for decades to come.

Personally, I will never forget the strength that he and his wife, Randi, showed when our mutual, dear friend, Clem Price—revered, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers-Newark and beloved public historian—passed away unexpectedly in 2014. Marc and Randi made a significant contribution in Clem’s memory to name the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience in his Clem’s name. In fact, beyond their own generosity, Marc and Randi played a major role in securing additional philanthropic support for the institute to advance Clem’s legacy.

Marc’s generosity to the law school, from which he graduated, is memorialized with his name inscribed on the school’s board room in the Center for Law and Justice, but his impact at Rutgers-Newark extends well beyond his philanthropy. He also sustained a commitment to generously sharing his expertise with new generations of students. For example, he was a strong supporter of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate at Rutgers Business School, not only serving on its advisory board, but speaking at Center events and spending time personally with our students.

We are holding Randi, his children Lora, Gary, and Kerri, and their entire family in our hearts at this difficult time, hoping that they find comfort as we do in knowing that we will continue to feel Marc’s caring presence in the places and the people in whom he so lovingly invested himself.