Rutgers, at Your Service

Richard L. McCormick, President
As published in the Fall 2011 issue of Rutgers Magazine

On a sunny Tuesday in August, New Jersey residents felt something that few had experienced: an earthquake that shook much of the East Coast. In reporting on this rare event, media throughout the state turned to Rutgers professors Martha Withjack, Claude Herzberg, and Alexander Gates, who shared their knowledge with an audience largely unfamiliar with this phenomenon.

Days later, as Hurricane Irene rolled up the coast, Rutgers professor and state climatologist David Robinson helped New Jerseyans grasp the approaching storm’s destructive potential. At the request of the governor’s office and the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Rutgers also sprang into action to shelter nearly 800 residents evacuated from shore communities ahead of Irene. The university provided cots and blankets at our recreation centers on the College Avenue and Busch campuses, hot meals at our dining halls and student centers, and round-the-clock assistance to evacuees with special medical needs. After the hurricane, Rutgers professors Joe Seneca and Jim Hughes provided authoritative assessments of its economic impact on the state.

We at Rutgers take pride in our unique role as The State University of New Jersey. It begins with our commitment to the educational needs of our state’s growing population. With the arrival of the academically strong Class of 2015 (which includes 125 valedictorians or salutatorians), total enrollment has reached 58,000, the most students Rutgers has had and by far the largest enrollment of any university in the state. The breadth of our faculty expertise and our wide range of academic disciplines give students abundant opportunities to explore their interests.

For those who cannot easily come to campus, Rutgers has established increasingly popular off-campus degree completion programs at community colleges in Mays Landing, Freehold, and Branchburg, and it is creating more and more online courses in order to serve residents in New Jersey and beyond—including enlisted men and women serving overseas.

Rutgers also applies its research and expertise to advance critical state missions—protecting the coastline, improving transportation, training government workers, promoting our state’s pharmaceutical industry, addressing children’s health concerns such as autism and obesity, and much more. Our faculty is searching for cures and treatments for cancer, AIDS, and spinal cord injuries. We are also engaged in solving everyday concerns such as controlling mosquitoes and helping homeowners deal with bedbugs and brown marmorated stinkbugs. At the same time, Rutgers speaks to our citizens’ aspirations—supporting urban entrepreneurship, training teachers, helping small businesses, inspiring urban teens to pursue college, and exposing people of all ages to the arts. These examples only begin to tell the story of our impact.

As a relationship that began 245 years ago continues, it is as clear as ever that New Jersey has a reliable and dependable partner in Rutgers.