Conversations With Our Past
Richard L. McCormick writes to Edward J. Bloustein

You were the finest president that Rutgers ever had. You transformed the university—moving it, once and for all, in the direction of research and graduate education. That wasn’t easy to do.

You were a force of nature—funny and engaging. When you spoke, you had people’s attention.

You engineered the $350 million higher education bond issue of 1988, allowing Rutgers to build critically needed facilities universitywide.

When I was president years later, I was at times jealous of the close relationship you had with Governor Thomas Kean in the 1980s. You two had a tight bond—and got a lot done.

Your reorganization of Rutgers–New Brunswick in 1981 was significant. Instead of faculties at each of four colleges, there was now one separate Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

One year, the Promotion Review Committee had denied a faculty member a promotion, which I felt strongly about. I took my chances and called you on the phone. You took my call, heard me out, and reversed the committee’s decision—and were unafraid to do so. 

Working behind the scenes, you knew what it took to get Rutgers into the Association of American Universities in 1989.

I remember a few dinners at your home. You always introduced a serious conversation at the big table, and each of us eagerly awaited our turn to contribute.

About a month before you died, you held an event at the president’s house for the deans and provosts. You were speaking with such pride about Rutgers and its many achievements, and then you started to tear up. It was moving and eye-opening for all of us. Your passion and love for the university were so clear.

If you saw Rutgers today, you would be very pleased and proud. The university is the university you imagined and created in the 1980s, here to serve New Jersey and the world. And the health sciences are back at Rutgers.

Richard L.  McCormick
19th President of Rutgers, President Emeritus

Like Father, Like Son
McCormick was appointed chair of the Department of History at Rutgers–New Brunswick in 1987 and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1989. His father, the late Richard P. McCormick RC’38, GSNB’40, was a revered historian and teacher.

Hail to the Chief
He served as the 19th president of Rutgers, from 2002–2012.

Vision Quest
McCormick oversaw the transformation of undergraduate education and the decision to bring the health sciences back to Rutgers, among key initiatives.

You Can Go Home Again
Raised in Piscataway, New Jersey, he returned to the faculty after his presidency and continues to teach. Read his interesting history of Rutgers' emergence as The State University of New Jersey"The Path to Excellence."

Edward J. Bloustein
17th President of Rutgers

Profiles in Courage
Bloustein was the 17th president of Rutgers, serving from 1971 until his death in 1989 at the age of 64.

The Golden Age of Higher Ed
He oversaw the dramatic growth of Rutgers as a research university, working with New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean.

Bloustein surrounded himself with a very capable inner circle of advisers, chief among them T. Alexander Pond, who was the executive vice president and chief academic officer.

Part of the Club
Rutgers was invited to join the exclusive Association of American Universities in 1989 after Bloustein dramatically improved the caliber of the faculty and research enterprise.

Outward Bound
He was the first modern Rutgers president to devote attention to outside constituencies: state politicians, donors, and alumni whose support underlies the success of the university today.