Robert Barchi 

Over the past few years, we at Rutgers have done a little dreaming. What would it take for us to become not just great but one of the best public universities in America? What will the university experience be like, in the ideal, for a student coming to Rutgers in 2020 or 2030, and how can we build toward that ideal? How do we hit that sweet spot of access, diversity, and national excellence, drawing the best high-achieving students and most gifted faculty? Equally important, what does this ideal version of Rutgers look like? How can its infrastructure enhance the university’s quality, functionality, attractiveness, and sense of community?

This spring, a year after approving our aspirational five-year strategic plan, the Board of Governors endorsed a longer-term physical master plan. Titled Rutgers 2030, the document presents exciting and transformative visions for New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden. Like the strategic plan, the physical master plan reflects the input of thousands of members of the Rutgers community, and it builds on the momentum of projects already in progress or recently completed, such as the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health in New Brunswick, the pharmacy building expansion in Piscataway, Life Sciences II and the renovation of 15 Washington Street as a residence hall in Newark, and the Nursing and Science Building and the Writer’s House in Camden.

This is the most comprehensive master plan Rutgers has ever had. It will guide us as we enhance the student experience in the laboratory and classroom (including distance-learning technologies that can reduce time spent traveling between classes), in student centers and residence halls, in athletics and recreation facilities, and in moving around campus. At the same time, the master plan points to facilities and infrastructure improvements that will help us recruit and retain the best faculty.

As you see and read in “Grand Design,” we have dreamed big dreams:

•  In Newark, we hope to open up the campus with a new college walk from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Military Park, to create a unique honors living-learning community, to catalyze arts and cultural development through Express Newark in the former Hahne & Co. building downtown, and to better serve commuters with a transit hub at Conklin Hall.

•  In Camden, in addition to building new facilities for business and scientific research, we hope to renovate existing classroom and learning spaces, create a new welcome center, and continue to reinvigorate Cooper Street and the surrounding environment.

•  Our vision for New Brunswick includes a transformed College Avenue with a new dining hall, student center, and green space leading to the river, a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the Raritan River that will connect the Livingston and College Avenue campuses, and a high-tech innovation park in Piscataway.

Remember that a master plan is not a rigid blueprint but rather a living document. We will review and update our plan from year to year, and we recognize that we may need to make revisions as circumstances and funding warrant. But we did not want to limit ourselves by dreaming small dreams; some of the boldest ideas take hold because they appeal to the imagination of a donor or corporate leader. In taking the plan forward, we will explore all our options and opportunities—whether that means using existing resources, soliciting private gifts, forming public-private partnerships, seeking foundation and government grants, or all of the above.

My hope is that we can create a physical environment that equals our prominence in teaching, research, and service to New Jersey and the nation. Rutgers 2030 provides the vision and guidance to make that happen.