Rutgers University in Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis spoke to an audience of over 200 at his 2023 Spring Address on Wednesday, March 29, celebrating a wide range of achievements by the university and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
It’s so good to see everyone as we head into the home stretch for this academic year,” Chancellor Tillis said. “Whether you’re a student or a member of our faculty or staff, everyone is working hard to finish strong.”
Chancellor Tillis acknowledged several new and incoming leaders of Rutgers–Camden, including Sandra Richtermeyer, who will begin in the role of provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs on June 14. He also recognized Bob McKee, who has been serving as vice chancellor for administration and finance since January as he prepares to replace the retiring Larry Gaines, whom Chancellor Tillis commended for 36 years of service to the university. Johanna Bond, the incoming inaugural dean of Rutgers Law, will join the university on July 12.
Chancellor Tillis took time to collectively acknowledge faculty and staff members who celebrated 25 years or more of service to the university this year. Two law professors, Steven Friedell and Jay Feinman, received special mention for reaching a remarkable 45 years on the Rutgers–Camden faculty.
News of sharp increases in new-student applications and future enrollment proved welcome amid a challenging economic climate.
“As we build our class for fall 2023, we have reason to be optimistic,” Chancellor Tillis said. “I am confident that we will achieve stronger enrollment this fall, thanks to the focus of our deans and their teams, and the herculean efforts of our entire enrollment management team.”
Expanded course offerings and international initiatives have played a critical role in boosting Rutgers–Camden’s standing. New graduate programs in prevention science and finance-wealth management welcomed their first cohorts this past fall.
“We recognize the need to keep our programmatic offerings current with market demands, Chancellor Tillis said. “These new academic programs, which have received approval during the past year, achieve that goal. Rutgers–Camden is actively engaged with countries in South America, Africa, and Asia for both undergraduate and graduate programs. We continue to expand internationally as we tap into international students.”
As a Carnegie R2 research institution, Rutgers–Camden thrives on the strength of the innovative, hands-on scholarship of its renowned faculty and exceptional student. Chancellor Tillis emphasized research gains and painted a bright picture of future initiatives in research. In 2022, Rutgers–Camden brought in $22.6 million in research funding, which represented a 16% increase in funds awarded from 2021.
“The research enterprise at Rutgers–Camden has shifted into high gear,” Chancellor Tillis said. “Much like their peers across the university, our faculty are applying for, and earning, more competitive grants than ever.”
Chancellor Tillis congratulated the advancement team and Business Dean Monica Adya for a seven-figure bequest intention to create an Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship at the School of Business–Camden. When established, this will become the third endowed chair at Rutgers–Camden and the first in the School of Business.
Rutgers–Camden alumni gave Chancellor Tillis plenty to celebrate in his address; among those who received commendation were Lavett Ballard CCAS’14, who had her art featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in February; John McGraw CCAS’95, a medallic artist for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, who sculpted coins for the U.S. Women in Quarters series; Kaitlin McGee CCAS’22 and Sydney Johnson CCAS’21 are Fulbright semifinalists for teaching assistantships in South Korea and Luxembourg, respectively.
Chancellor Tillis took time to thank the Rutgers–Camden community for joining in the celebration of a variety of anniversaries and traditions, including the 25th anniversary of the Honors College and the upcoming 50-year mark for the founding of the School of Nursing.
“As a community, we seek to celebrate our accomplishments, and to celebrate each other,” Chancellor Tillis said. “We have many reasons to express our Scarlet Pride. During this academic year, we have introduced several new traditions that provide us all with the opportunity to applaud the outstanding achievements that occur at Rutgers–Camden every day.” Chancellor Tillis also thanked those who have participated on and cheered for the university’s Division III athletic teams.
One of the tentpoles of Chancellor Tillis’s “15 in 5” slate of initiatives, the Chancellor’s Lecture Series on Global Racial Reckoning, was held just two days earlier; over 250 people were in attendance to hear Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers, in conversation with Senior Professor and Rutgers Law School Vice Dean Stacy Hawkins.
“This is the second year for this annual lecture series, and I am proud that it has quickly become a valued new tradition,” Chancellor Tillis said.
In closing his remarks, Chancellor Tillis left the Rutgers–Camden community with a message of gratitude and motivation.
“I have shared with you my clear-eyed optimism in our ability to rise to challenges and advance our mission,” Chancellor Tillis said. “Thank you for all that you do, and Go Scarlet Raptors!”
Creative Design: Douglas Shelton