College Students
Higher Ed

Prudential Financial’s $10 Million Commitment to Rutgers-Newark is University’s Largest Donation Ever

Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor announced that Prudential Financial has committed $10 million to the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) at Rutgers-Newark – the largest donation ever to Rutgers-Newark – to create the Prudential Scholars Program for Newark residents.

The gift will create cohorts of Newark residents in the HLLC known as Prudential Scholars and provide them with scholarships to cover tuition and fees, as well as room and board, during their full-time study at Rutgers–Newark. The Prudential Scholars will have access to resources to help them build their entrepreneurial skills and the social networks to empower them to become agents of positive change in the city.

Joined by Prudential Vice Chairman Robert M. Falzon, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi, and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka before a standing-room-only crowd at the Great Hall on Washington Street, Cantor said that a partnership between Prudential and the HLLC, which serves as a national model for identifying and cultivating local talent, is a natural one.

“There’s no better example of an organization with an eye for innovation and a commitment to developing local talent than Prudential. We’ve learned that seeing talent sometimes takes new lenses and that educating effective change makers takes bringing people together from diverse backgrounds to work on complex challenges together,” said Cantor. “We could not be more grateful for this gift and the opportunity to partner with Prudential in this new way.”

“As a company founded and headquartered in Newark, we have a responsibility now more than ever to work together, as public-private partners, and provide local Newark students with access to the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. HLLC is that solution for the City of Newark and the next generation of leaders that will come from our City,” said Robert Falzon, Prudential Vice Chairman. “Prudential’s support of this program helps us stay true to our mission of helping individuals achieve financial and social mobility, while also investing in the future workforce that the world needs.”

“It is gratifying to see Prudential recognize the enduring commitment to Newark of its fellow anchor institution, Rutgers University–Newark, in such a profound way,” said Rutgers University president Robert Barchi. “Prudential and Rutgers each have demonstrated a longstanding passion for the city and its residents, and this remarkable gift is a vital new expression of our shared determination to increase Newark’s prosperity through the power of education.”

Since 2013, Rutgers–Newark’s enrollment of Newark residents has grown by 87 percent, and half of 220 HLLC scholars are Newark residents, reflecting the university’s efforts to build and strengthen pathways from Newark schools and from New Jersey’s county colleges to the university. Currently, 13.5 percent of Rutgers-Newark undergraduates are Newark residents.

Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka sees the Prudential Scholars Program gift as a significant step forward in creating more opportunity for the people of the city.

“This gift represents a powerful investment by Prudential in Newark and in Newarkers,” he said. “It does exactly what we want to see more of in Newark: investing in the talent that is already here, providing affordable access to a college degree, and positioning more Newarkers to move into the kinds of jobs that are going to allow us to grow from within. It builds on the work that Rutgers-Newark already is doing to build and strengthen those pathways to prosperity and drive Newark forward.”

HLLC applicants are evaluated according to a custom-designed set of criteria that measures student characteristics including critical thinking skills, social and emotional intelligence, leadership skills and academic and artistic potential. Once admitted, they progress through their studies as a cohort, sharing core learning experiences under the guidance of a specially selected team of faculty and professional staff trained to mentor and advise in an immersive environment with an innovative curriculum emphasizing the theme “Local Citizenship in a Global World.”

HLLC scholars learn to build upon the localized knowledge and experiences they bring with them, increasing their cross-cultural competence and approaching local challenges that resonate globally from historical, philosophical, legal, and comparative perspectives by engaging concretely in meaningful work and partnerships in the City of Newark. Key elements include a foundational course and a research-based internship in an academic or social policy setting.

Tim Eatman, inaugural dean of the HLLC, sees investments like Prudential’s as significantly advancing efforts to realize the vision to develop and activate the HLLC as a national model.

“For generations going forward, HLLC scholars from Newark will be blessed by Prudential’s significant investment and acknowledgement of the anchor mission partnership that it shares with Rutgers-Newark. This truly brings new meaning to Prudential’s invitation to ‘Bring Your Challenges,’” said Eatman. “I join associate dean Marta Esquilin, assistant dean Engelbert Santana and the entire HLLC team in gratitude, hope and renewed commitment as we continue to cultivate dynamic young people who are ameliorative leaders for the 21st century.”

The Prudential Scholars Program will adapt the HLLC model to focus on cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit among Newarkers, employing the Newark City of Learning Collaborative’s network of 40 local partner organizations to build awareness of the program and recruit talented Newark residents. Two-thirds of Prudential Scholars will come directly from high school, with the remaining one-third coming from two-year colleges such as Essex County College.

In addition to the HLLC’s three core courses, Prudential Scholars will take three elective courses that address a range of urban challenges and approaches, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), economics, and urban affairs.

Prudential Scholars will receive scholarships to cover tuition and fees, as well as room and board, during their full-time study at Rutgers-Newark.

Throughout their studies, Prudential Scholars will gain exposure to leaders from across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, including Prudential leaders, serving in roles from guest speakers to mentors. The scholars also will participate in programming to hone workplace and professional networking skills in collaboration with Braven, a national nonprofit working in select cities across the United States.

As a culminating experience, Prudential Scholars will take a capstone course focused on entrepreneurial approaches to major urban challenges. They will engage with professionals, public officials, community leaders and residents in Newark to address issues such as environmental sustainability, affordable housing, local business development and educational attainment, proposing local solutions informed by local and national examples.

The first cohort of Prudential Scholars is expected to enroll in fall 2020, following an initial year of awareness building and recruitment for the program.

They will live in the HLLC building now being completed on Washington Street between New and Linden Streets. Developed as a public-private partnership with Newark-based developer RBH Group and designed by Perkins Eastman, the HLLC will open in September 2019 as an $81 million state-of-the-art facility created to promote cross-cultural, intergenerational living, and facilitate the HLLC’s innovative, community-engaged curriculum. It will include 26,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: