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TCNJ News

For Immediate Release
September 8, 2004

President Gitenstein Launches Sesquicentennial Celebration

 

EWING, NJ . The following remarks were delivered by President R. Barbara Gitenstein at The College of New Jersey's Opening Day/Sesquicentennial Kick-off Celebration this afternoon:

 

It is a great pleasure to welcome everyone to our year of celebration. This afternoon we are honored to be joined by leaders from our college and the community. Would those members of the College's board of trustees, the foundation board and the alumni association please stand to be recognized? Thank you for your leadership in guiding this fine institution.

Also with us today are leaders of Ewing Township , Mercer County, the City of Trenton, and the State of New Jersey. Would you please stand to be acknowledged? Thank you for all that you do for us and our community.

I would ask that the faculty, emeriti faculty, staff and students also stand to be recognized. YOU are what is so great about this institution. Thank you.

And it is my pleasure to introduce the first recipients of a prestigious new award at the College. On August 24, 2004, the Staff Senate announced the awarding of the first Helen Shaw Staff Special Achievement Award. An endowment was established last year by a generous bequest from Helen Shaw, a 1936 alumna, to recognize the essential role that staff members play in the realization of the College's mission. The recipients of the 2004 Helen Shaw Staff Special Achievement Award are: Joe Hadge from the Alcohol and Drug Education Program, and Craig Kapp from Instructional Technology. Joe's exemplary efforts help students at TCNJ to be more aware of their choices and responsibility when it comes to alcohol and other drug use. Craig created the "Simple Online Courseware System" (SOCS), which is specifically designed for TCNJ users and is widely used across campus by faculty as a classroom management tool. Congratulations and thanks to both Joe and Craig and to the 5 other individuals and 4 offices who also were nominated for this wonderful new award.

I will begin today with a highly condensed version of my usual opening remarks - citing a couple of examples of our successes of the past year and delineating the outline of our plans for next year. Beginning this year, we will be publishing a longer version of the welcome back remarks in a presidential annual report.

Last year, we determined that 2003-2004 would primarily be a year of consolidation, a time to focus attention on the implementation of the many excellent recommendations that had come forward through the regular governance process and the several academic task force reports of previous years. In addition, there were several areas for on-going development: academic transformation, communication to all constituencies, the diversity of the campus, advocacy for state resources, increase in non-state resources, alumni relations, public and community relations, and facilities planning and construction. I am very pleased to report that we had significant success in all areas and I urge you to read all the details in the longer published version. But indulge me as I cite some specifics today:

 

•  2003-2004 was another wonderfully successful year in admissions. Highlights include:

•  6,400 applications, which is a 2% increase over last year;
•  1,239 deposits, a 5% increase;
•  a yield of 40% - while that is the same yield as last year, the accepted pool of candidates was much stronger this year;
•  80% of the entering class were admitted through general admission;
•  for generally enrolled students, the average SAT is 1307, and the average class rank 92%;
•  95% of the entering class are New Jersey residents;
•  38% of enrolled students are Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program students (OSRP);
•  there are 96 Educational Opportunity Fund enrolled students in our incoming class, a 35% increase over last year;
•  there was an 18% increase in enrolled Black students, and an 18% increase in enrolled Hispanic/Latino students; and
•  there was a 6% increase in out-of-state applications.

 

•  The report of the class of 2003 indicates that our graduates are also flourishing:

•  67% of graduates responded to the survey;
•  22% of those who responded are attending graduate school immediately upon graduation (up 6% from the year before);
•  95% were either working or in graduate school within a year of graduation;
•  85% were employed (an 8% increase over year before);
•  the average salary of those reporting was over $37,000 with a range from $15,000 to $92,000 (15 reported salaries above $60,000);
•  of those who reported that they were employed, 84% were employed in New Jersey ;
•  87% indicated that their preparation for career was good or excellent; and
•  94% indicated that the quality of the academic experience at TCNJ was good or excellent.

 

We are continuing to diversify our faculty and staff ranks. Eleven of 25 new full time tenure track faculty are from underrepresented groups. This is the third year in a row that more than 1/3 of our new faculty hires are from underrepresented groups. We have just recently appointed a Director of Equity and Diversity, a new position on the President's Cabinet.

Progress on the academic transformation was remarkable last year. In a wonderful coincidence with our Sesquicentennial celebration, this fall we kick off the full implementation of the academic transformation of our entire undergraduate experience.

Development and fundraising successes for 2003-2004 include last year's annual gifts totaling more than $2.6 million, which represents a 4% increase in total gifts, a record of $642,000 received from alumni, and a record of $985,000 received in bequests.

 

•  Alumni relations successes of 2003-2004 include:

•  the appointment of a new Director of Alumni Relations;
•  Homecoming 2003 attracted a record 6,000 to campus;
•  there were 19 additional alumni events which attracted 2,300 alumni to campus; and
•  the Alumni Association contributed $150,000 to support the Sesquicentennial, the lead gift for the celebration.

 

•  Relationships with the Township of Ewing have been much improved over the last several years.

•  Community Fest last fall attracted over 5,780 people to campus, with a significant increase in the number and scope of vendors and sponsors;
•  the new Lions Club debit card and Loop (Shuttle service) supports economic development initiatives in Ewing and has been positively received by local businesses and township government;
•  the College initiated the Ewing Calendar, a collaboration with Ewing Board of Education and the Township;
•  Town and College Together (TACT) continues to serve as a vehicle for keeping lines of communication open, and exchanging issues and ideas to enhance communication between the township and College.

 

•  We have again received excellent news about our recognition in national rankings:

•  we are included in the 2004 Princeton Review's Best Colleges and Universities as we have been every year since its first publication in 1992;
•  we are ranked the #1 public institution in this fall's U.S. News and World Report 's ranking of Master's level institutions in the northeast, a ranking we have held every year since the inception of these rankings; and
•  we are hoping that we will soon be announcing even further national recognition of TCNJ as an exemplar of higher education.

 

The year ahead will surely be as challenging as those that preceded and will undoubtedly be marked by similar successes. We have three accreditation reviews this year: the Middle States Association, the Council on the Education of the Deaf and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

At what has become a tradition of summer institutional planning, we have determined that in 2004-2005, we will focus our attention on the following 9 areas:

•  implementation of the new curriculum
•  faculty/staff development
•  enhancement of a vital living/learning community
•  development/fundraising
•  inclusion/diversity
•  planning and accountability
•  public relations
•  enrollment management
•  state advocacy

 

These areas of focus grow naturally out of the institutional commitment to excellence and to attaining the "arc of our aspiration;" they are the organic consequences of our mission-based planning and our distinguished history. The College of New Jersey of today is the proud heir of the fledgling New Jersey State Normal School . In 1855, after almost 30 years of discussions and negotiations, 15 students began their teacher training at the school's facilities on Clinton Avenue in Trenton . Since that time, the institution has changed its name 5 times, moved from downtown Trenton to Ewing township, added full baccalaureate and selected masters and graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines, grown to an enrollment of over 6,000, developed a roster of over 58,000 alumni, and become recognized as one of the most academically competitive public undergraduate institutions in the country.

Today is the kickoff of our Sesquicentennial year of celebration, thus it is a beginning that looks to the past as well as to the future. Today's events began with the torch run - Harrison Fehn lit the torch at Grant Elementary and William Hausdoerffer lit the cauldron with the torch. Harrison is the three-month old son of two of our valued staff members (and we hope a future student and alumnus) and Bill Hausdoerffer is a 1936 graduate of the College as well as an emeritus faculty member.

We will have many opportunities during the next year to remember the past and praise the present, but we would not have been able to do so without the wonderful generosity of our sponsors. And to our most generous sponsor: our own Alumni Association, which contributed $150,000 to the celebration, the Sesquicentennial scholarship, and the Alumni Grove, a special thank you. I thank you not only for your generosity, but more importantly, for your continued engagement and love for your alma mater. An institution of higher education is described by its current students and current circumstance but it is confirmed and heralded by its alumni and its past.

While we sometimes speak of transformation as if it were an invention of the last several years, transformation has been the heritage of this remarkable institution. Whether we were called New Jersey State Normal School, or New Jersey State Teachers College and State Normal School at Trenton, or Trenton State College, or The College of New Jersey, we have been blessed with the leadership and inspiration of exceptional faculty and administration and with the courage and intellect of eager students. Emily Dickinson writes:

 

The Pile of Years is not so high

As when you came before

But it is rising every Day

From recollection's Floor

And while by standing on my Heart

I still can reach the top

Efface the mountain with your face

And catch me ere I drop

 

Our faculty, students and administrators allowed the institution to see beyond the horizon into the midday of the next decade. All our moments of transformation have built on the previous moments of transformation; the leadership of today on the leadership of yesterday; the institution of today on the institution of yesterday. As the Sesquicentennial slogan affirms: "We turn not older with years, but newer every day." And yes, that too, is thanks to Emily Dickinson. Thank you.


 

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