Raised at Rutgers

Raised at Rutgers: A President's Story

Richard L. McCormick
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qh1cz
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  • Book Info
    Raised at Rutgers
    Book Description:

    InRaised at Rutgers, Richard L. McCormick tells what it is like to run a major state university and vividly portrays the often contentious environment in which a university president operates today. He unsparingly recounts his decade of leadership, including his own missteps-those we know about and those we didn't-as he strove to obtain adequate resources for the university, to overhaul the often confusing organization of the New Brunswick campus, to manage the growth and success of intercollegiate athletics, and to deepen Rutgers's acceptance of its obligations as the state university of New Jersey.

    With understandable pride, McCormick recalls and relates Rutgers's academic achievements during his presidency, including a renewed focus on undergraduate education and a significant increase in funding for research. Most dramatically, he chronicles the University's protracted efforts to reclaim Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (and ultimately to acquire most of UMDNJ), a goal that was finally realized with crucial help from Governor Chris Christie and former governor Tom Kean.Among the most honest accounts ever written of a college presidency,Raised at Rutgerstakes the reader inside one of the best, and liveliest, public universities in America and highlights many of the most critical issues facing higher education today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6475-3
    Subjects: History, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xviii)
  4. 1 SIX SCENES FROM A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENCY
    (pp. 1-28)

    On a late October afternoon in 2002, Governor Jim McGreevey was yelling at me on the telephone—he in a helicopter somewhere over New Jersey and I at my home in Seattle. He knew that the Rutgers Board of Governors was intending to appoint me as the University’s nineteenth president within the next several days, and he was not happy about that. The leaders of the state legislature, he said, specifically naming the copresidents of the senate and the speaker of the assembly, shared his opposition to my appointment. The governor wanted me to withdraw as a candidate for the...

  5. 2 COMING OF AGE AT RUTGERS
    (pp. 29-61)

    Sometimes on Saturday mornings in the early 1950s, my father would visit Dr. William H. S. Demarest, who lived in the brown stone house that still stands at the corner of George Street and Seminary Place in New Brunswick. Dr. Demarest had served with distinction as president of Rutgers from 1906 to 1924 and had written a weighty volume on its history. Now in his nineties, he loved to talk about that subject. My father, a young faculty member trying to learn about the history of Rutgers, valued these opportunities to spend time with the genial, gentlemanly Dr. Demarest. Occasionally...

  6. 3 A DIFFICULT FIRST YEAR AS RUTGERS PRESIDENT
    (pp. 62-94)

    By the summer of 2002, I had been gone from Rutgers for ten years—three in Chapel Hill as provost followed by seven in Seattle as president of the University of Washington. At UNC’s flagship campus, I served as the chief academic officer of a self-confident institution that was cherished within its own state and esteemed around the country and the world. To be sure, UNC–Chapel Hill had its share of challenges, roughly similar to the issues that faced all of America’s top universities in the 1990s, but no problems would fundamentally erode its excellence or diminish the allure...

  7. 4 THE ACADEMIC HEART OF THE MATTER
    (pp. 95-131)

    While awaiting a better opportunity to restore the medical center to its place within Rutgers, the University vigorously advanced other initiatives for improving education and research. In my inaugural address I declared that “our most important goal is to move Rutgers to the top tier of America’s public research universities.” By top tier I meant UNC–Chapel Hill, Michigan, UC–Berkeley, and a few others at that level. We did not get that far, but Rutgers is closer than before because we consciously and successfully pursued several major academic objectives.

    The largest share of responsibility for any university’s academic work...

  8. 5 INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS
    (pp. 132-165)

    Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bob Mulcahy was at his best on the afternoon of June 17, 2003. He and I held a press conference to explain the University’s violation of the rules for certifying the academic eligibility of student-athletes, a “major” violation that the NCAA had formally announced earlier in the day. Although the announcement was embarrassing to Rutgers and the penalties (two years of probation and the loss of twenty scholarships in ten sports) were quite severe, the entire episode actually reflected well on Mulcahy, as did his handling of the press conference that day. The department of intercollegiate...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. 6 RUTGERS AND NEW JERSEY
    (pp. 166-198)

    With high hopes, I devoted most of my inaugural address on April 13, 2003, to the subject of Rutgers and New Jersey. Invoking the ideal of the great American state universities that had grown up in partnership with the people of their states, I committed Rutgers more fully to become that kind of institution for New Jersey. My speech pointed with pride to our graduates’ readiness to contribute to the state’s economy, gave examples of Rutgers research focused on New Jersey’s needs, and cited prominent instances of our University’s service to the people of the state. But it acknowledged that,...

  11. 7 GETTING A MEDICAL SCHOOL, CONCLUDING A PRESIDENCY
    (pp. 199-239)

    Not for decades, if ever, had New Jersey seen as compelling a study of higher education as the Kean task force now offered. It covered all the big issues: university governance, mission differentiation among the institutions, educational quality, financing, affordability, and higher education’s indispensability to a thriving economy. The report placed its findings broadly within a national context, too often ignored in our state, and made more than seventy specific recommendations. The persuasiveness of the document’s every feature—its factual observations, its lucid analyses, and its commanding proposals—was elevated by the universal respect its principal author enjoyed. More than...

  12. 8 REFLECTIONS ON LEADING RUTGERS
    (pp. 240-248)

    So this is my story of Rutgers as I have known it since childhood. I learned about Rutgers first from my father and mother and then from my own early forays onto campus—tagging along with my dad, selling lemonade on the golf course (briefly), and rooting for the football team. As a young man, I discerned my parents’ keen commitment to the many obligations of a state university and their concern for Rutgers’s future. Later still, as a faculty member and then a dean, I observed and modestly assisted in the University’s growth toward distinction in research—and relished...

  13. SOURCES
    (pp. 249-256)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 257-270)