The New Jersey State Senate presented Rutgers with a resolution recognizing the university as a “globally esteemed educational institution” in honor of its 250th anniversary.
The resolution highlighted the accomplishments of the university’s alumni, who include governors, senators and members of the Legislature and Supreme Court of New Jersey.“The strength and success of the State of New Jersey, the vitality of our global communities and the effectiveness of our American society depend, in great measure, upon outstanding institutions of higher learning such as Rutgers,” the resolution stated.
Robert Barchi, Rutgers 20th and current president, traveled to Trenton to mark the occasion on Monday.
“We’ve been here longer than the State of New Jersey,” President Barchi said. “It’s nice to have the Senate recognize this milestone. I’m pleased to see they are proud of the university and expressed that pride by issuing a statement like this as we commemorate our 250th anniversary.”
Sen. Bob Smith, who earned a master’s degree in environmental science from Rutgers, joined Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and others in presenting the resolution.
“As the hometown senator for Rutgers University, it is my pleasure to congratulate the university for 250 years of service to the people of New Jersey and the world,” Smith said. “This is one of the major industries in the State of New Jersey. We wish you the best and another 250 years.”
Sen. Ray Lesniak, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers, also spoke in the Senate chambers about the sense of pride he feels toward his alma mater. He said that Rutgers had just been named the number one M.B.A. program in the country in regards to job placement. “Rutgers has a lot to be proud of,” Lesniak said.
The resolution mentioned Rutgers’ humble beginnings, starting with 20 students and growing to 67,000 from 115 countries.
The university marked its 250th anniversary with celebrations throughout the year, including special courses and publications, academic symposia, fireworks, performances and lectures from notable alumni. President Barack Obama delivered the 250th anniversary commencement speech last May. Even the Empire State Building joined the celebration, lit up in scarlet in honor of Rutgers on November 10.
President Barchi came to Rutgers in 2012 and ushered in some major changes – integrating the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with Rutgers, redeveloping the College Avenue campus, overseeing $1.8 billion in new facilities and transitioning to a Big Ten school. He said he is especially proud of the new state-of-the-art Honors College, which debuted last year.
“It’s a great program,” Barchi said. “Every year, we will have 500 of the best and brightest people in New Jersey and the United States coming to Rutgers.”
Although Barchi respects the university’s history, he puts more emphasis on what is happening today at Rutgers.
“The 250th is an emotional marking of a period in time, a time for the university to be proud of its heritage and history,” Barchi said. “What really matters is what we’re doing now. All of the new facilities have raised our academic profile. It’s not the same old Rutgers. It’s not even what it was five years ago. We’re celebrating Rutgers as one of the nation’s oldest institutions, and at the same time focusing on what it is today and why it’s so special.”
– Mary Ann Bourbeau