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Gov. Christie Signs Higher Ed Restructuring Legislation Positioning Rutgers as National Leader
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Officials of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, welcomed Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney today at a historic signing of the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act on Rutgers’ New Brunswick Campus. The legislation, which passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature June 28 with strong bipartisan support, will help propel Rutgers into the top tier of national research universities and strengthen medical education across the state.
“This marks the beginning of a new era for Rutgers and higher education in the state of New Jersey,” said Ralph Izzo, chairman of the Rutgers University Board of Governors. “The integration of an academic medical center into Rutgers adds tremendous value to the entire university and the state. We will be well-positioned to dramatically improve our ability to win federal grants, attract top-flight faculty and students, expand health care options for New Jersey residents and foster economic growth.
“The bill that the governor signed today is a demonstration of the progress that can be made when leaders of both political parties work together,” Izzo added. “The bill was vastly improved because our state’s leaders were willing to set aside partisan differences to work for the public good. We applaud Gov. Christie and our legislative leaders for their commitment to building a stronger system of higher education in New Jersey.”
The legislation positions Rutgers to assume greater prominence in the state and the nation. Integration of the medical schools into Rutgers will move the university’s national ranking in terms of grant funding from 56th in the nation to among the top 25 research universities in America.
The governor and legislative leaders also visited Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark during a daylong tour of the state to underscore the critical statewide impact of the historic legislation.
The Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act preserves Rutgers’ presence in Camden – due to the integration of nearly all units of UMDNJ with Rutgers – and extends the university’s presence in Newark, New Brunswick and Piscataway.
“The blending of Rutgers and UMDNJ faculty and staff will produce an extraordinarily talented and vibrant university community,” said Richard L. Edwards, interim president of Rutgers University. “The strategic integration of UMDNJ into Rutgers will leverage our combined biomedical research strengths to create a major academic and health science powerhouse with newly energized campuses in Camden, Newark, New Brunswick and Piscataway.”
Rutgers officials said the integration process is a collaborative effort with UMDNJ to bring together two great research universities into one entity that will rank among America’s elite institutions.
Most of the provisions in the legislation are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013.
Representatives of Rutgers and UMDNJ have recently formed joint integration teams to facilitate the transition. Meanwhile, the Rutgers University Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees continue to review the legislation to ensure that it provides adequate financial safeguards, preserves the autonomy of Rutgers and strengthens the university. The governing boards will continue to work with the administration, the Legislature and our colleagues at UMDNJ to bring about a successful integration.
Media Contact: E.J. Miranda
732-932-7084 ext. 613