Dear Members of the Rutgers–New Brunswick Community:
Maya Angelou once wrote, "Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances." As I reflect on the end of this semester—one that brought a level of adversity unknown in recent times—I am moved by the many ways our campus community rose to meet immeasurable challenges and soared above unbelievable obstacles.
The hard work and dedication of our Rutgers community have never been more profound or inspiring. Our faculty quickly adjusted their courses to ensure a seamless educational experience, our students adapted to a new way of learning, and our staff supported us all to meet the ongoing needs of our campus. You each represent the resiliency that is the essence of our university, and your triumphant spirit resounds.
Because of you, we were still able to thrive. Rutgers–New Brunswick continued to deliver on its commitment to be one of the most impactful land-grant research universities in the country. We embraced opportunities to grow, developed new knowledge, connected with constituencies in different ways, conducted life-changing research, and in turn, continued to improve our world.
Rutgers’ work in combatting COVID-19 represents some of the most critical advances in fighting this pandemic. Under the leadership of Dr. Andrew Brooks in the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers developed the first saliva-based home test approved by the FDA, which is now being widely used. Our schools of Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Environmental and Biological Sciences collaborated with Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School on the RU 3D PPE project to produce face shields and intubation boxes to combat PPE shortages. And the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology launched the Psychological Services Network, a volunteer network of mental health professionals who are providing services to members of our community.
We have also found inspiration in the incredible talents of our faculty, staff, and students, who continue to shine. Professor Gregory W. Moore was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, bringing Rutgers’ total number of members in the National Academies to 24. We also celebrated our first-ever Marshall Scholar, Diego Atehortúa, who was one of only 46 students in the country chosen for this prestigious postgraduate scholarship. And two more of our School of Arts and Sciences students earned Goldwater Scholarships, including the 18th from the Physics Department. We have also enhanced many programs and introduced new initiatives to support the student experience, including the launch of the Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Academy.
These accomplishments are exceptional during normal conditions, but given the complexities of our current world, they are even more remarkable. It also is a reminder to our 2020 graduates—who sacrificed so much this past semester—that you carry with you a legacy of Rutgers’ excellence. While we will honor you soon at a virtual commencement ceremony, know that we always stand behind you in support of your bright futures.
Finally, to our current students, faculty, and staff: as President Barchi shared in his message to the community, the landscape of instruction in the fall is still being determined with the abiding principle that your health and wellness is our topmost priority. While the weeks and months ahead are uncertain, I can say unequivocally that your spirit and resilience have served you well this past semester, and you will indeed tower above any future circumstance.
I wish each of you and your loved ones good health in the summer months ahead, and I look forward to brighter days when we can all be together, on the Banks, once again.
Be well and stay safe,
Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick