Welcome from President Barchi (Camden)

September 3, 2012

Dear Rutgers Colleagues,

Hello! I hope you have had a happy and rewarding summer. On behalf of my wife, Francis, and myself, I thank you for the warm welcome we have received. We are excited to be here at Rutgers and eager to work with you at a very important time for the institution.

On that note, let me say how impressed I have been to get to know Rutgers over the past few months. Even though I grew up nearby, I was not fully aware of the incredible breadth of talent and the rich history here. Rutgers is an exceptional, highly regarded university that has a fantastic opportunity to grow even stronger. 

While the past year has been filled with stress and uncertainty, there is a clear road ahead. We are one university with vital campuses in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick. The deliberations of the past year have affirmed Rutgers as the State University of New Jersey and have entrusted us with greater responsibility and scope than we have ever had. Our institution will be strengthened by adding the breadth of health sciences as we welcome the people and units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that are coming to Rutgers. At the same time, we will extend a hand of friendship and collaboration to Rowan University. We will reach out to help Rowan establish itself as a research university while maintaining our own identity, including that of Rutgers-Camden.

In light of the university’s need to concentrate our financial and management resources on implementing the restructuring legislation, I have decided not to hold a formal inauguration event. Instead, I will be visiting each of our major sites during the next month or so. Events like these will give me an opportunity to meet you and to talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish in helping you build upon the very high quality of this university.

On the Camden Campus, Chancellor Wendell Pritchett has kindly arranged a welcoming breakfast at the Gordon Theater on Friday, September 14, at 9:00 a.m. In addition, I will help dedicate the new residence hall in Camden on Wednesday, September 19, starting at 11:00 a.m. I hope to see many of you at one of these events or at the year-opening University Senate meeting on Friday, September 21, at 1:10 p.m. in the Rutgers Student Center on the New Brunswick Campus. 

One of the opportunities that the restructuring legislation will afford us is strengthening areas in which Rutgers has not previously been able to grow, such as building health and biological sciences to a position of national prominence. These areas are going to require much energy and focus if we expect to take full advantage of the opportunity. At the same time, we must never lose sight of the historic strengths that have shaped Rutgers over the centuries, particularly in the arts and humanities. We will make it widely known that we have tremendous depth in our traditional strengths, such as math and history and philosophy.

Our ambitions are sky high, but our resources are not. As we begin the work of expanding Rutgers’ size and scope, we have to make clear choices about where we want to excel, and where we will invest these limited resources. That is why I am calling for a university-wide strategic planning process. We intend to have every part of the faculty, staff, and governance contribute ideas about where Rutgers should go. We will also seek the perspective of students and alumni. This process will lead us to a coherent vision and a plan for moving us forward. It will also provide a springboard for a revitalized facilities master plan.

I look forward to talking about the strategic plan in the campus meetings I mentioned above and in other communications with you. We have an exciting opportunity to take Rutgers to new levels of greatness while generating ever-growing value to New Jersey and its citizens, and to the world.

For now, I wish you a very rewarding academic year. It is an honor for Francis and me to be joining this community of scholars. Thank you for the opportunity to be here, and I look forward to working with you.


Robert L. Barchi