NJIT University Community
Joel S. Bloom
Monday, August 18, 2014
We will have, I am pleased to report, a very strong foundation upon which to build. My previous message to the university community in June observed that the NJIT Commencement which had just taken place saw the largest graduating class in our history. That accomplishment will be matched and even exceeded on the first day of classes, on September 2, when the largest and best prepared entering freshman class in the university’s history takes its place in classrooms and laboratories across the NJIT campus. I thank Charlie Fey, the Admissions staff, and the many faculty who participate in an array of activities throughout the academic year and summer to recruit the incoming class. In particular, the Tony Howell, the EOP staff and faculty who worked with these students throughout the summer to fully prepare them for their academic success. Also, Katia Passerini and Lois Chipepo who recruited a record class of Dorman Honors College freshmen scholars. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our pre-college programs that produce at least 200 well prepared underrepresented freshmen every year.
As I have often observed, NJIT’s new and returning students bring with them a bounty of energy and enthusiasm that literally imbues the campus with an amazing vitality and a window into the future. Our students are privileged to be among the most talented in the country. NJIT graduates have been recruited into the best-paying and most promising careers at a rate that far exceeds the national average. They continue to go forth to become America’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders of industry and it is no accident that their efforts have led to NJIT’s ranking in the top one percent among public universities in the United States for alumni earning potential.
I am delighted to report that we will begin the 2014-15 academic year buttressed by some very significant recent accomplishments.
First, I am proud that we have just concluded a three-year strategic hiring plan that has brought a total of 50 new faculty members to NJIT, 14 of whom will arrive on campus this September. They will join the 24 new faculty members who were appointed in the first year and the 12 from the second year. These new faculty cohorts, as with our existing faculty, will contribute significantly to the workforce and economic development of New Jersey, the region and the nation.
This accomplishment is an unprecedented investment in strengthening NJIT’s faculty in support of our current interdisciplinary education and research thematic initiatives; and it is a core endeavor that has been reaffirmed in NJIT’s 2020 Vision strategic planning exercise as: Convergent Life Sciences and Engineering; Data Science and information Technology; and Sustainable Systems. I applaud the leadership of our faculty, chairs, academic deans, Provost Fadi Deek, and the Board of Trustees for making this achievement possible.
Another success that I want to share with you is the status of NJIT NEXT, the Campaign for New Jersey Institute of Technology. The purpose of NJIT NEXT is to ensure the continued transformation of the university through a $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to endow new scholarships and fellowships, recruit and retain top faculty, and develop the next-generation campus.
I am pleased that we are fast approaching our ambitious goals in this multi-year campaign. As of June 30, 2012, funds in gifts, pledges and grants totaled more than $92 million. By June 30, 2014, funds in this comprehensive campaign had risen to a total of $126 million, a very considerable increase. Of particular note was the gift report that seven commitments of $250,000 were secured in FY2014, as well as an additional 24 gifts of more than $50,000 each. In addition, 25 new scholarships were established this past year, the largest number of scholarships secured in a single year since the campaign commenced. I commend Chuck Dees and his team at University Advancement for these excellent results and, of course, the generosity of our many donors and benefactors.
I am also proud to announce that NJIT’s newly launched New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) has already received two very significant grants.
First, under the leadership of Don Sebastian and Tim Franklin, NJII was awarded a major $5.67 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to implement a regional economic cluster development program, NJ MarketShift. The program focuses on a statewide strategy for “cluster development” in New Jersey’s aerospace and defense industry to diversify markets, foster product innovation, and strengthen companies and integral to Department of Defense needs and NJ’s economy. MarketShift is the largest grant made by the Department of Defense for this type of activity.
MarketShift creates a series of cross-cutting functions that serve to strengthen and grow the ecosystem of existing and future defense suppliers into new markets with new strategies and new products. To do that, NJII will build and facilitate user groups (involving 85-100 New Jersey companies). The grant involves several major elements that offer state of the art approaches for university-activated economic development. NJII is currently launching partnerships, engaging faculty, hiring staff, and planning program offerings. The grant is renewable for up to five years. For New Jersey defense suppliers, MarketShift’s successful implementation will increase market diversification and revenue from contracts outside of the defense sector, all of which will lead to job growth for New Jersey and revenue growth for those companies.
Second, NJII was an inaugural grant recipient, for $1.45 million, in the JPMorgan Chase Small Business Forward initiative. The program connects entrepreneurs with critical resources to help their businesses grow, create jobs and strengthen communities. Funding from JP Morgan Chase will also allow NJII to grow the Health IT cluster and extend our EDC (Enterprise Development Center) services and the capabilities of the new NJII Health Care iLab. The Health IT Entrepreneurial Connection program will target growth stage Health IT entrepreneurs who have achieved $250,000 in revenue and need support to accelerate their commercialization pathway. The goal is to help these companies achieve 20% or more annual revenue growth. In addition to their impressive economic growth, businesses participating in high performing clusters typically add more jobs than other businesses in local/regional markets, according to research by the Institute for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), which was commissioned by JPMorgan Chase.
I look forward the beginning of the new academic year, welcoming our new and returning students. I hope we are all inspired to continue to move NJIT toward national preeminence as a science and technology university.
With warmest best wishes,
Joel S. Bloom,