Rutgers recognized as "globally esteemed" institution by New Jersey State Senate
In December, the New Jersey Senate presented Rutgers with a resolution saluting the University as a “globally esteemed educational institution in the Garden State.”
Written by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) and Rutgers alumnus and Sen. Bob Smith (D-17), the resolution recognized the year-long celebration of Rutgers’ 250th anniversary. These festivities culminated Nov. 10, 2016, on the anniversary of the establishment of Rutgers.
“The 250th-anniversary celebration of the founding of Rutgers University highlighted accomplishments of the University’s alumni, which includes governors, senators and members of the New Jersey Court, as well as revolutionary thinkers who brought discoveries in science and the humanities that have changed our world,” the resolution said.
University President Robert L. Barchi traveled to Trenton on Dec. 19 to receive the honor.
“We’ve been here longer than the State of New Jersey. It’s nice to have the Senate recognize this milestone. I’m pleased to see they are proud of the University and expressed that pride by issuing a statement like this as we commemorate our 250th anniversary,” Barchi said.
The resolution said Rutgers has fulfilled its goal of providing a world-class education for students, and the University has grown from its "humble beginnings" of 20 students, into a dynamic and diverse culture with over 67,000 students from various countries.
“Recognition of Rutgers’ excellence by the State Senate really cements how important the University is to New Jersey,” said Evan Gottesman, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “It is a reminder that right in the center of the Garden State we have, not only a major employer, university and hub of intellectual life — we have something that we are respected nationally and internationally for. Whenever I travel outside of New Jersey, people are always impressed with my alma mater.”
The New Jersey Senate’s resolution included a focus on the educational opportunities available to students at Rutgers.
Gottesman said Rutgers is unique because of the variety of experiences available due to the wide array of majors, and the opportunity to intern for credit or even teach courses.
Laura Kershaw, a first-year student in the School of Engineering, said the diversity of the student body also contributes to the quality of education at Rutgers.
“The true distinguishing feature of Rutgers is how it makes such a large school seem small,” Kershaw said.
Reflecting on the recent developments at Rutgers, Barchi said he was particularly pleased with the new Honors College, which opened last year.
“The 250th is an emotional marking of a period in time, a time for the University to be proud of its heritage and history. What really matters is what we’re doing now. All of the new facilities have raised our academic profile," Barchi said. "It’s not the same old Rutgers. It’s not even what it was five years ago. We’re celebrating Rutgers as one of the nation’s oldest institutions and at the same time focusing on what it is today and why it’s so special.”
New Jersey’s representatives in the United States Senate, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), also submitted a similar resolution to the federal senate.
"Rutgers exemplifies all of the traditions of higher education in the United States because Rutgers is the only University in the United States that is a colonial college, a land-grant college and a comprehensive public research university,” the representatives said in their statement.
Sonay Barazesh, a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences, said she finds it significant that the government recognized Rutgers and all of its accomplishments.
"To me, this recognizes the hard work I see in classrooms and the research so many people are working on," Barazesh said. "The University’s history in the past 250 years has not been perfect, but I think it distinguishes itself with a student body that is active, diverse and demanding the history be known.”
Christina Gaudino is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in public policy. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.