There’s Something Happening Here

Has there ever been a more exciting time at Rutgers? Commencement 2014 marked the first graduating class of the new Rutgers, one that included the first graduates of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, the new division that integrated most of the schools of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers and now puts the university on the footing to become a truly comprehensive research university.

Earlier this spring, President Robert Barchi, after leading an 18-month analysis of the university, unveiled a comprehensive five-year strategic plan that will serve as the university’s North Star as Rutgers embarks on the next phase of its ambitious mission of research, education, and service.

Two people who will make further contributions to the plan are Nancy Cantor, the new chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark, and Phoebe A. Haddon, the incoming chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden. The two—former leaders, respectively, of Syracuse University and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law—have come to Rutgers precisely because of the promise they see in the university’s future.

To much anticipation, Rutgers officially becomes a member of the Big Ten® on July 1, an athletic conference second to none among the nation’s public universities. Now, all of Rutgers Division I athletic teams will compete against the likes of the University of Michigan and Penn State University, 14 members in all. Equally noteworthy is Rutgers membership in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the venerated academic arm of the Big Ten Conference that allows members (and the University of Chicago) to share resources with one another—from research collaboration to library services to study abroad opportunities for students.

For a handful of Rutgers students, opportunity has grown exponentially lately, thanks to the Office of Distinguished Fellowships, which helps students apply for prestigious awards. Rutgers was the only university nationwide this year to have students and graduate students receive the Churchill, Luce, and Mitchell scholarships as well as the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Judging from the trajectory of their careers, they may some day be candidates for the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni, which this year inducted Joseph G. DiPietro RC’84, the Tony Award-winning playwright and lyricist; Sheri McCoy RBS’88, chief executive officer of Avon Products, Inc.; Daniel C. Reda ENG’65, GSNB’67,’69, a key contributor to the U.S. space program; Harvey M. Schwartz LC’87, chief financial officer of Goldman Sachs; and Rosemarie T. Truglio DC’83, senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop.

All in all, some pretty exciting stuff as Rutgers heads toward its 250th anniversary in 2016.