Academic Excellence, Beloved Community and Common Good: Rutgers’ President Outlines the University’s Future

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway shared his vision for the future of the 256-year-old institution at his inaugural Stakeholder Address on October 12, 2022.

 Holloway said even though he’s still in the early days of his presidency, he is confident that Rutgers will continue to be a place that is more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming. Holloway outlined the principles that drive Rutgers’ initiatives: Access and Academic Excellence, Beloved Community and Common Good. 

“It’s a formula that is as simple as our ABCs,” he said. 

Access and Academic Excellence

Holloway said he’s committed to providing access for students and aspires to be a national model for outstanding academic programs, social mobility, and educational equity. 

“We are determined to help our students complete their degrees on time, prepared both for careers and for lifelong learning,” he said.

Each one of Rutgers’ campuses moved higher in this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings as the university continues to make education affordable.

“We now have programs on all our campuses to ensure that families with incomes below $65,000 won’t have to pay Rutgers tuition,” he said.  

Holloway says that through donor generosity, state and federal financial aid and intentionality on the university’s part, more students of modest means than ever before have been able to attend Rutgers. He highlighted funding from donors – like the Scarlet Promise Initiative and smaller grants that have helped students access a full range of educational opportunities.

“In 2021, one year after Dr. Holloway became the President of Rutgers University, Fair360, formerly DiversityInc proudly made a capital pledge of $500,000 to the Scarlet Promise Grants program,” said Carolynn Johnson, CEO of Fair360, formerly DiversityInc. “That pledge represented 4% of our sales for that year, while still working through the impact COVID-19 had on small to mid-size businesses. As long as I am CEO, we will continue to support Rutgers as proud members of the Beloved Community.”

Beloved Community

Holloway said Rutgers is committed to serving the common good and believes every person in the university’s community brings value and has a role to play in its success.

“It entails being intentional about building a diverse and inclusive faculty and staff to match the rich diversity of our student body,” he said. “It means establishing what I have called a healthy ecosystem based on constructive collaboration in pursuit of our goals.”

Rutgers is focused on instilling in students a commitment to community service through initiatives like the Rutgers Summer Service Internship program or RSSI.

“RSSI places Rutgers students in non-profit public service internships where they are immersed in situations that expose them to worlds that are different, diverse and challenging,” said Holloway. “The goal was to begin to create a culture of public service here at Rutgers. And the first year has been a terrific success. We had nearly 600 applicants for the 100 internship opportunities.” 

With the help of donors, Rutgers plans to expand the RSSI program from 100 to 150 students next summer.

Common Good

Holloway said Rutgers “believes that through the excellence of our health systems, our scholarly research, and our outreach programs, as well as our collaborations with local and global partners — that Rutgers is addressing society’s biggest challenges and helping to improve the lives of people in New Jersey and around the world.”

Rutgers’ initiatives include collaborations to develop a carbon-negative process for making plastics and increase the number of city residents going to college. Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus launched the Academic Master Plan with the goal of re-imagining and improving the entire student experience from beginning to end. The university’s Climate Action Plan sets 2040 as a target for becoming carbon neutral.

In Rutgers’ 256-year history, this is the first time the Big-10 University President provided an overview of where the university is, where it’s going and how it will get there. 

Holloway admits that he’s not blind to the socio-political headwinds that Rutgers faces. But he believes that hope is a choice, and he makes that choice when he gets out of bed every day.

 “Thankfully, there are myriad reasons at Rutgers that make this choice easy,” he said. “If we commit ourselves to thinking about all of the good work so many in our community do on a daily basis, if we are unafraid to be proud of our excellence, it makes that hopeful choice much easier.”

President Holloway’s first stakeholder address was streamed live from Rutgers’ chapel on campus and can be accessed here in its entirety.