Published January 12, 2021
By Mike Sepanic
A $3.5 million gift – the largest ever received by Rutgers University–Camden – is launching a new program to attract students to Rutgers Law School in Camden who have distinguished themselves academically and demonstrated a commitment to public service.
The donor of this significant gift is a Rutgers–Camden faculty member who otherwise wishes to remain anonymous. At the donor’s request, the gift creates the Rayman L. Solomon Scholars program at the Camden location of Rutgers Law School in honor of the school’s former dean.
“This gift is transformational in multiple ways,” says Kimberly Mutcherson, co-dean of Rutgers Law School. “The vision set forth by our donor will allow Rutgers to continue to prepare the very best students from New Jersey, the nation, and the world to become the leaders that we need to guide the future.
“As this country seeks to heal after a painful and divisive year, our legal system remains central to safeguarding the rights of every American and maintaining our democracy. Rutgers Law School is nationally recognized for its commitment to providing an excellent legal education to a broad range of students. Thanks to this generous gift, Rutgers Law School will be able to recruit even more students with outstanding academic credentials. The Solomon Scholars will receive an annual stipend and a range of personalized programming to prepare them for elite careers in law.”
Solomon served as dean of Rutgers Law School in Camden from 1998 to 2014 and as provost of Rutgers University–Camden from 2014 to 2015. He remains on the Rutgers faculty as a University Professor of Law, one of the highest ranks attainable at the university.
“Rutgers is a real engine of social transformation, and I am pleased to be able to help accelerate that important work,” explains the donor. “Many of our students are first-generation college students who graduate to become leaders of government, business, the judiciary – in short, every aspect of our nation’s life.
“I want to give back to the place that has been the center of my professional life and that has introduced me to colleagues and students who have become close, lifelong friends. As The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers serves the public good. It’s at the core of our mission. As dean, Ray Solomon embraced the significance of that mission. Under his leadership, the law school in Camden recruited a world-class faculty, heightened its national stature, and reinvigorated its commitment to social justice. He is a man of compassion and integrity, and I am proud that the Solomon Scholars program will build upon that legacy.”
The Solomon Scholars at Rutgers Law School in Camden will be an elite cohort of academically talented, accomplished, and public service-oriented students who will become an outstanding group of alumni with the skills and training to positively impact their local communities, the country, and the world. In addition to receiving annual student financial support, Solomon Scholars will be eligible for summer stipends to support public service work. They also will be able to participate in special programming, and work with mentors throughout their law school experience.
Thanks to an additional $50,000 gift from the donor in March 2020, the first three Solomon Scholars started at Rutgers Law School in Camden this academic year.
“By recruiting high-achieving students who demonstrate their commitment to public service, this innovative program will directly provide support to our students, and will elevate Rutgers Law to the next level of prominence as a national public law school,” says Solomon.
“I am deeply honored by this incredible demonstration of selfless generosity made in my name by a valued friend and colleague,” continues Solomon. “While I may have been surprised that it was done in my name, I was not at all surprised by the donor’s commitment to helping our students, to strengthening the academic community at Rutgers Law School, and to furthering the goal of training graduates who are dedicated to improving the lives of every American. I am confident that this program will succeed in fulfilling this ambitious vision.”
“We are so grateful for this extraordinary investment,” says Margaret Marsh, interim chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden. “The magnitude of this support is truly humbling. It is the largest gift from an individual ever made to Rutgers–Camden. It represents the passion, generosity of spirit, and dedication that this extraordinary donor has for our students and for our special institution.”
As one of the largest law schools in the nation, Rutgers Law School is committed to scholarly distinction and engagement with the major legal issues and concerns facing the region, country, and world. With locations in Camden and Newark, Rutgers Law has a geographic presence in the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan regions, two of the largest legal markets in the United States, and a supportive alumni network of more than 20,000 nationwide.
Story originally appeared in Rutgers Camden News Now.