As we begin the academic year, I send my heartfelt welcome to new members of our University community and to you all. A talented group of freshmen, transfers, new athletes, and new graduate students have joined our NJCU family. A special welcome to our new faculty who come from many corners of the world. I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer and is experiencing a productive fall semester.
As you meet the new faculty I am sure you, too, will be impressed. They hold degrees from and have taught at some of the world’s top institutions, including Duke, the University of Virginia, Hampshire College, Harvard, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, St. Petersburg (Russia), Temple, Rutgers, and Columbia. They are experts in stem cell research, international financial markets, educational practice-based research, and neuroscience; they have studied midwifery in Nigeria; Afro-German identity in Germany; and genetics and biotechnology in Sweden. One has worked with IBM on single-carbon nanotube transistors used as DNA sensors, while another has used nature to create and define designs for graphic arts. We are most fortunate to have this remarkable new group of scholars on our faculty.
Our resident students moved into Vodra Hall and Co-Op Hall this week, while our Lady Gothic Knights defeated John Jay College in volleyball and our men's soccer won over City College of New York. The student leaders participated in a dynamic retreat at Crystal Springs in July. While visiting them I learned that they came to NJCU because of the diversity on campus and the strong academic programs. Watch for some interesting programming this year from a remarkable group of student leaders.
Some students started this year earlier than others and had a chance over the summer to develop effective study habits and support groups. With a day that started at seven in the morning and continued until late in the evening, they have prepared themselves for a successful college career.
Our campus has the feel of a construction zone, and that means progress. We are completing the green garden and plaza for the Gilligan Student Union Building and replacing brickwork damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Simultaneously, the architects have been chosen to move forward on the Science Building addition and an RFP will soon go out for a new residence hall. Our academic building on the West Campus has been through a first design phase and once funding has been obtained, we will begin full design of a facility that will provide the Music, Dance and Theatre Program with the facilities it deserves, along with a number of state-of-the-art classrooms. With the upcoming move of the Music, Dance and Theatre program, other programs like Business and Nursing will be able to expand into the vacated spaces. In the meantime, the Media Arts Program and others are beneficiaries of a state grant to provide funding for technology and equipment.
Reflecting the diversity and international scope of this campus, faculty and students this summer have traveled to the far corners of the world: China, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, and Mexico. With one Fulbright student returning from Korea (and on her way to graduate school in Scotland), we have another leaving this fall for Turkey.
This will be a busy fall! I am thrilled to invite all of you to the Inauguration on September 20 in Margaret Williams Theatre. Joining us will be a number of dignitaries. President Mohammed H. Qayoumi from San Jose State University will be our keynote speaker. This is a singular opportunity to show off our University. When our visitors see the examples of the good work done by our students, their artwork and research projects, they will see what we already know – NJCU is transforming lives. You definitely will not want to miss the jazz concert on the waterfront at Exchange Place, featuring Jon Faddis and a number of our esteemed alumni from the Jazz Program.
Having completed a full year at NJCU I continue to marvel at the energy of the students and their determination to achieve the American Dream. That determination is matched by the deep commitment of faculty and staff who provide the means to their success in becoming an educated citizen, professional, as well as a well-rounded individual.
I have met community leaders and I am inspired by the renaissance occurring in Jersey City and the influx of state funds for construction. Meeting with leaders in higher education from across the nation, I am eager for NJCU to benefit from the paradigm shift in higher education. Building on this bedrock, the Inauguration will be a time when I will lay out a map for moving forward. Join me on September 20 as we look to our future.
I wish you all the best this academic year and look forward to seeing you on campus.
Sue Henderson, Ph.D.