Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi told the board of governors the 2019-2020 academic year will be his last as university president.
“It has been my privilege and pleasure to lead this community during the past seven years, and this will continue to be the case during my eighth and final year,” said Barchi, who was named Rutgers’ 20th president in 2012. Barchi, who also holds the title of University Professor, will return to the faculty in that capacity during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Barchi began his tenure at Rutgers leading one of the largest integrations in American higher education to form Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and later oversaw the partnership with RWJBarnabas Health to create New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive academic health system.
Since he joined Rutgers in 2012, honors colleges in New Brunswick and Newark have been built to attract New Jersey’s best students, and endowed professorships increased from 41 to 89 to attract world-renowned faculty. More than $2.5 billion in construction provided new facilities for chemistry, nursing, engineering, life sciences and student life and more than $1 billion in fundraising in the last five years alone set records.
“Under Bob Barchi’s leadership, Rutgers’ national rankings have risen, research at Rutgers has expanded overall and in critical areas, our student academic profile has enjoyed dramatic improvement, and the physical face of Rutgers has been forever changed,” said board of governors Chair Mark Angelson. “We are delighted with his leadership and we are grateful that he will lead Rutgers for an eighth and final year.”
“President Barchi is an exemplary leader who has worked tirelessly to improve the student experience and to make Rutgers an ever-better place to learn, teach and do research,” said board of trustees Chair James Dougherty.
Barchi led the creation of a strategic plan to establish Rutgers as a top research institution in the nation, along with a corresponding initiative to expand and modernize Rutgers’ physical plant to meet the needs of students, researchers and New Jerseyans who turn to Rutgers for health care. Meanwhile, financial management, business and communication systems were substantially modernized and improved during the past seven years.
The university continues to invest in educational technology, including telepresence and active learning classrooms that modernize learning spaces and connect students and faculty across Rutgers’ locations. Online services were launched to simplify student transactions and improve the student experience.
Since 2012, the number of students enrolled throughout Rutgers has increased from 58,000 to more than 70,000, and the number of degrees conferred has risen 35 percent to 18,825. Meanwhile, the university’s endowment has grown on average 9.2 percent a year to $1.3 billion.
In 2016, Barchi orchestrated the university’s year-long celebration of its 250th anniversary, marked by a historic commencement address by President Barack Obama.
“A great university is one that builds on its strengths and past accomplishments and that responds nimbly to opportunities and challenges in a rapidly changing academic and political landscape,” Barchi said. “During the coming year, my leadership team and I will remain fully engaged in working with you on the tasks we face today and the opportunities that will appear tomorrow.”
Angelson said the university will embark on a national search for Rutgers’ 21st president. Details about the search process, which will include outreach to all university faculty, students, staff and alumni, will be announced in the coming weeks, he said.
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