Rutgers Alumni rejoice!
Our University has been offered – and accepted – an invitation to a true academic-athletic conference. That is, we have accepted an invitation to a group of universities with like-minded goals of strong academic programs of study, quality grant-funded research in both the sciences and the humanities, and quality, successful athletic teams which provide the men and women who are on those teams the opportunity to excel in both the classroom and on the field.
All Rutgers Alumni, from all our colleges and schools, should take pride in the fact that our University was found to be worthy of such an offer. Moreover, we should take pride in the fact that it is our efforts in the world after graduation that have brought to Rutgers the renown and reputation it enjoys today. We have distinguished ourselves through our hard work, research, presentations, efforts at outreach, and our overall example.
But consider the following:
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is in the top 30 in the United States for research funding. We are one of only 60 Association of American Universities (AAU) schools (12 others are in the Big Ten), and one of only 76 land grant schools. Consider also this is without counting the resources of UMDNJ, which was politically hijacked in the 1950’s from Rutgers and is just now being returned as the flagship state U’s medical school. Obviously, research is not an area in which we were lacking. If anything, it is one of our strong suits that needs to be played more often within the State of New Jersey. Without question, it is certainly one of the biggest reasons why RU fits so well in the Big Ten.
Likewise, Rutgers has a history and tradition within its academic and its athletics that fit with the Big Ten and its current members. Our faculty and student alike have always striven for quality research and innovative thinking. Many of know the history of the discovery of streptomycin on the Cook Campus of Rutgers in 1943 by Albert Schatz. Today, the Waksman Institute is known worldwide for innovative research in microbiology. Rutgers continues to be a pioneer in the sciences through the mapping of the human genome and is actually the repository for cell and DNAthat scientists around the world rely upon for their research. President Barchi in fact referenced it today in the press conference.
In Mathematics, we have always been extremely strong. This year, 2012, Endre Szemerédi won the Abel Prize for Mathswhich is equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Similarly, our Physics Department ranks behind only Harvard and Cornell in awards won by young faculty in the last 5 years, and has been a top 20 department for decades.
And, of course, we have a history and tradition of playing football and basketball.
Without question, the Big Ten is a true academic-athletic conference that values academic prowess and athletic competition. These are concepts that Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and its fans and supporters do as well.
Certainly there will be the nay-sayers who will want to run back to Patriot League and those who will claim that we should be in Division II for athletics. Others will say we should drop athletics all together because they believe it does not have redeeming value. The shallow talking heads will tell everyone that we bring nothing to the Big Ten conference. There will be those who will loudly pronounce that this is change without value for the current members of the Big Ten.
Of course these are the same people who view anything they have not been consulted on as unacceptable specifically because they didn’t think of it or cannot get their head around the structure of the idea or concept. Thus, they dismiss the action out of hand. In much the same way, I have no problem dismissing them as having nothing constructive or useful to add to the discussion.
Thus, alumni, faculty, staff, current students, donors and supporters of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey should hold their heads high and be proud of this accomplishment!
WE R B1G!