Message to Alumni Regarding the Integration of Rutgers and UMDNJ
November 19, 2012
Dear Rutgers Alumni:
Many of you have followed with great interest the legislative proposals to restructure higher education in New Jersey and may be asking what they mean for your alma mater. The result of those discussions, the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, was signed into law by Governor Christie this past August. This week the Rutgers Boards of Governors and Trustees, exercising their unique responsibility to consent to fundamental changes to the institution under the covenant Rutgers signed with the state in 1956, voted unanimously to approve the Restructuring Act, and it will take effect July 1, 2013. I am writing to you both about this change in the broadest sense and about its impact on alumni.
The act transfers to Rutgers nearly all of the schools, institutes, and centers of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. (The exceptions are the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, which is being integrated into Rowan University, and University Hospital in Newark, which will become a separate nonprofit entity but will remain the primary teaching hospital for the New Jersey Medical School, School of Nursing, and New Jersey Dental School.) Further, the act maintains Rutgers’ presence in Camden and provides greater opportunities for the Rutgers–Camden Campus while establishing formal collaboration between Rutgers–Camden and Rowan in the area of health sciences.
I believe this act, as ultimately adopted, holds enormous potential for advancing higher education in New Jersey to the benefit of citizens, students, and the affected institutions. For Rutgers, which has lacked a medical school since the early 1970s, this restructuring will present enormous opportunities to excel in the medical, dental, and health sciences, bolstered by the strong basic health science research capabilities UMDNJ has demonstrated throughout its history. Likewise, the outstanding UMDNJ programs that are joining Rutgers will benefit immensely from new synergies with research and teaching in pharmacy, nursing, the life and social sciences, engineering, law and business, the arts and humanities, and many other areas of strength. For the students of both universities, it means an even more robust institution with far more academic options. For New Jersey, it will achieve Gov. Christie’s goal of strengthening biomedical education and research statewide and engendering new public-private partnerships with industries that are critical to the state’s economic prosperity. For the women and men of our combined institution—the new and stronger Rutgers—we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve every region of New Jersey as one of the top comprehensive research universities in the nation.
What does this mean for you, the alumni? I hope that it will mean a reaffirmation of the values and academic excellence that drew you to seek an education at your alma mater, a growing sense of pride in the university, and the benefits that will come as the institution grows in stature among the very best comprehensive research universities in America.
There are a multitude of operational and financial issues to address as we move toward implementation of the Restructuring Act. There will be more work to do after that point in a number of areas, including the consideration of new ways to strengthen and build our alumni programs. In the months ahead, we will be reaching out to you again to keep you informed and to hear your suggestions.
Thank you for your concern and your loyalty to your alma mater. An active, engaged alumni community is critical to the success of any university, and I look forward to interacting with you in the years to come.
In the meantime, I encourage you to visit the web page regarding integration that is jointly run by Rutgers and UMDNJ. You may also want to read the news release regarding the vote by the Rutgers Boards.
Robert L. Barchi
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey