New Brunswick Chancellor

Closing the Book on a Historic Year

As we end this academic year and finish yet another chapter in our 250 years of history, one that includes visits by President Barack Obama and United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, I want to share with you a note about our successes since we came together last August.

Our faculty was once again recognized by some of the most prestigious academies in the world. Professor Alexander “Sasha” Zamolodchikov, from the Department of Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Professors Joachim Messing and Richard Ebright from the Waksman Institute were awarded membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. But research is just one component of our faculty’s mission. We take pride in their recognition, as well as the numerous other awards our faculty earned this year.

Board of Governors Professor of History Deborah Gray White and Professor Edward Ramsamy, chair of the Africana Studies Department, are exemplars of our commitment to service. Professor White has led the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History and has been a mentor to a group comprised of faculty, staff and students that is charged with examining the role that slavery played in the years following the founding of Rutgers. Professor Ramsamy, with the able help of RUSA Vice President Brianna Battle, has co-chaired the University’s Task Force on Inclusion and Community Values, which has explored more deeply the sentiment of inclusion across our campus and continued conversations about race, bias and identity. I am grateful for their efforts to meet the challenges I have posed to them and I look forward to receiving their reports. 

Our students continued to amaze me with their triumphs and ambition both inside and outside the classroom. Revan Sopher, a senior double major in engineering and computer science, turned fellowships with NASA and venture capital giant KPCB into a job at Google. Maggie Morash scored a Goldwater Scholarship last year as a junior and then as a senior, she captained the women’s soccer team to a berth in the NCAA national semifinal. And I must also highlight the pluck of Daily Targum editor Dan Corey, a sophomore, who was granted a pre-commencement interview with President Obama because during a visit to the White House last month he had the guts to do what many of us wouldn’t: ask.

The President’s address at Commencement on Sunday will serve as a glittering highlight in the yearlong celebration of our 250th anniversary. While the visit of a sitting President is certainly a singular occurrence for those of us in the Rutgers community, I am proud to know that the incredible accomplishments and efforts of those graduating and of our outstanding faculty and staff are not. That is what makes me proud to call Rutgers home.