Published March 1, 2022

A Message from Nancy Cantor

Chancellor, Rutgers University–Newark

In the context of the 75 years since a small collection of colleges called the University of Newark became a part of Rutgers, the past 22 months stand out as a moment when this institution has really lived up to its longstanding mission to open up educational opportunity for people being left on the sidelines of prosperity. We all have become painfully aware of the many ways in which the global pandemic has hit some communities harder than others. But the Rutgers University – Newark community has risen to the challenge in this crucible moment, doubling down on our commitment to be a place where students come to realize dreams of prosperity for themselves, for their families, for their communities.

Even as we look with hope toward a post-pandemic future, we know that there is much more to do. That’s why we have significantly expanded our RU–N to the Top scholarship program to reach even more students from Newark, Greater Newark, and statewide. That’s why we’ve augmented our efforts to advance racial healing through the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center, and our collaborative work with community partners like the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Newark Community Development Network, and NAACP Newark to facilitate local discussions about what reparations might look like in a community like ours. And that’s why we are multiplying and broadening pathways to and through higher education by strengthening Newark’s college-going culture from pre-K through grade 12, vocational programs, re-entry programs, community colleges, four-year institutions, and graduate school.

We can see the impact of this work in a new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce identifying Rutgers-Newark as having the best return on investment of any university in the U.S. that enrolls 50% or more Pell-eligible students. We can also see it through the words of faculty and staff who share your sense of responsibility toward students; through the ways in which you help students facing extreme financial hardship; and through the opportunities you make possible for first-generation college students.

These stories, which you make possible, demonstrate resilience in challenging times. They exemplify the vital role that Rutgers–Newark—and you—play in the lives of our students and our community.

Faculty Spotlight

Although James Goodman, a professor of creative writing and history at Rutgers–Newark, earned his degrees at private institutions, he believes fervently in the importance of public colleges.

“We need places like Rutgers–Newark. Our students are from here and the surrounding areas. And a huge percentage of our students are first-generation college students.”

Goodman is also a Rutgers donor. “I don’t fool myself into thinking that my small contribution is going to keep public education afloat. But when there’s a particular scholarship close to my heart or a student emergency fund, I’m going to give, and I’m going to try to give regularly,” says Goodman.

“I’m also going to encourage my colleagues to give because our jobs are gifts to us,” he adds. “We should give back when we can.”

Goodman gives primarily because of his students. “My undergraduates are working 20 to 30, sometimes 40 or more, hours per week. And they are taking the maximum number of credits possible, to save money. Supporting our students by making a gift, no matter how big or small, can make a difference. Together, faculty giving makes a real difference and, symbolically, it shows students we are with them inside and outside of the classroom.”

Student Emergency Fund

The Rutgers–Newark Student Emergency Fund has always been an important resource for students facing emergencies. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in requests from students for assistance. A corresponding increase in donor support enabled Rutgers–Newark to meet the growing need for this critical lifeline.

Students can appeal for assistance to address financial emergencies caused by life-changing events, such as accidents, illness, the death of a primary caregiver, or homelessness. Students with these challenges often face the real possibility of having to withdraw from their studies at Rutgers–Newark. An overwhelming response by generous donors has allowed more students to receive aid and continue their pursuit of a college degree.

Donors to the Rutgers–Newark Student Emergency Fund have kept students in school and on track toward their dreams despite life-changing emergencies. Thank you for making it possible.

School of Criminal Justice

The past decade has seen more students drawn to the field of criminal justice. At the School of Criminal Justice, students gain focused, interdisciplinary exposure to all aspects of crime and criminal justice. Thanks to steadfast donor support, more students than ever can attain a world-class Rutgers education in this rewarding field.

The Dr. Bil Leipold and Dr. Joe Bertolino Scarlet Promise Grant Fund, established by Leipold and Bertolino SSW’90 as part of the universitywide Scarlet Promise Grants initiative, supports high-achieving undergraduates (full or part time) in the School of Criminal Justice. Scarlet Promise Grants provide need-based financial aid and emergency support to more than 9,000 Rutgers students annually. Other forward-thinking donors have joined Leipold and Bertolino in supporting this vital initiative.

The School of Criminal Justice was founded in 1974 by an act of the New Jersey Legislature, and it’s the only school in America with this kind of legal charter. Part of its mission is to support students in becoming productive and respected scholars, practitioners, and reformers in the field of criminal justice. Donors help students achieve these goals by supporting the Dr. Bil Leipold and Dr. Joe Bertolino Scarlet Promise Grant Fund.

Student Ambassadors

In its second full year, the School of Public Affairs and Administration’s Student Ambassador Program offers undergraduate and graduate students leadership development opportunities. Thanks to donor support, students who embody competence, knowledge, ethics, and service can participate in this professional development experience.

Graduate student Rosslin Mensah-Boateng SAS’18, now in her second year as an ambassador, wanted to participate to “hone my skills as a student leader, professional, and advocate.” As an ambassador, Mensah-Boateng is adding value to her Rutgers–Newark experience by connecting with peers who also seek to build leadership skills, network, and support each other.

Mensah-Boateng chose to study at Rutgers–Newark because of its diverse student population, its professors, and the courses offered. In addition to working toward her degree, she also works full time at a nonprofit organization as an administrative coordinator. She is grateful for the opportunity donors have given her with the SPAA Ambassador Program, which has been her favorite part of the Rutgers experience. “Your financial support enables us to provide more programming and events to hone the skills of future leaders in local government, nonprofit organizations, and agencies, especially in a time when genuine and consistent leadership is key,” she says.

After she graduates, Mensah-Boateng hopes to elevate her career in director or managerial roles. “I am ready for the next level, especially after I complete my degree, and I can implement the specific skills and experiences from school and work to become successful.” Donor support for the SPAA Ambassador Program makes it possible for students like Mensah-Boateng to succeed.

School of Arts and Sciences–Newark

The School of Arts and Sciences–Newark provides opportunities for academic exploration across a wide range of studies. Donor support for the school—including its nearly 40 undergraduate fields, 17 master’s programs, eight doctoral programs, and enrichment opportunities like the Honors College and the Honors Living-Learning Community—makes it an attractive place for students to learn.

First-year student Allison Lopez chose to attend the School of Arts and Sciences because it gave her the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research and study alongside world-renowned scientists, all while remaining close to home. Lopez, a student at the Honors College and the Honors Living-Learning Community, hopes to major in neuroscience.

After living under COVID-19-related restrictions for more than 18 months, Lopez was thrilled to spread her wings at the school. “I found myself isolated, forced to mature in an unconventional way,” she says. “Now, actually going to class, participating in sports and clubs, these will be very different. I have a new appreciation for life that I didn’t have before.”

Lopez’s family came to New Jersey from El Salvador when she was 5 years old. Now, the young scholar wants to pave the way for her sisters, ages 12 and 7. For Lopez, this includes fighting for gender equality and assuring that her siblings become “proud Latin women, never being made to feel like lesser people.” Donor support for the School of Arts and Sciences has helped create a welcoming environment full of opportunities for first-generation students likes Lopez. Thank you for keeping the doors of possibility wide open for our students.

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