Nicholas Gouverneur Rutgers IV


Nick Romanenko

Nicholas Gouverneur Rutgers IV, a descendant of the namesake of Rutgers University and an emeritus member of the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Overseers, died December 29, 2017, at his home in Greenwood Village, Colorado. He was 92.

Rutgers’ great-great-great-great-uncle was Colonel Henry Rutgers, a Revolutionary War hero for whom the university is named. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Nicholas Rutgers served in the Pacific theater during World War II. After returning from duty, he enrolled at Rutgers College, planning to major in history. He subsequently left Rutgers in 1947 to marry Nancy Hall. 

The couple settled in Hawaii, and Rutgers later cofounded and published the Tahiti Bulletin, the island’s English-language newspaper. Rutgers never returned to finish his Rutgers degree but often visited the university and remained active in university affairs over the years. He was proud of his affiliation with Rutgers and considered himself a member of the Class of 1950, as did his classmates.

He generously donated his time, historical expertise, good name, and financial resources to the university. He arranged a significant bequest that will benefit the Rutgers Center for Human Evolutionary Studies and the Nicholas G. Rutgers Jr. Soccer Student-Athlete Scholarship.

Two monographs by Rutgers, The Rutgers Family of New York and New Jersey (1967) and Four Families of New York and New Jersey: Rutgers, Livingston, Gouverneur, Neilson (1976), are housed in the Rutgers University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives.

Rutgers was elected a charter member of the Board of Overseers of Rutgers University Foundation in 1975 and served for 30 years until his election as an overseer emeritus. He also helped inaugurate the university’s organization for planned giving donors, the Colonel Henry Rutgers Society. The university named him a Loyal Son of Rutgers in 1996 and presented him with the Scarlet Oak Meritorious Service Award in 2000.

Memorial donations can be made in support of the Rutgers Center for Human Evolutionary Studies or the Nicholas G. Rutgers Jr. Soccer Student-Athlete Scholarship. Checks can be made out to Rutgers University Foundation and sent to Tiffany Swinarski, Office of Gift Planning, Rutgers University Foundation, Second Floor, Liberty Plaza, 335 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Gifts can also be made online at