19 N.J. Colleges and Universities Sign Historic ‘Declaration of Commitment’ to Help Neighboring Communities

Leaders of 19 colleges and universities this week signed an historic “Declaration of Commitment” to help revitalize Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, Paterson and Trenton.

(L to R) Dr. Walt McDonald, president and CEO of ETS, Dr. Nancy Cantor, chancellor of the Rutgers-Newark campus, and Rochelle Hendricks, secretary of higher education

The five cities are charter members of what New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks is calling “The New Jersey Coalition of Anchor Institutions.” Following two years of exploratory and developmental work, the event formally launched an initiative to design and implement scalable and systemic change that will address entrenched challenges, engaging residents in the work of transforming their communities.

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(L to R) Steven Rose, president of Passaic County Community College and Maisha Howard, finance and research analyst, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

“The fate of our colleges and universities is inextricably linked with the communities that surround them,” said Secretary Hendricks. “We share one common future, and we need to positively and powerfully reinforce the public mission of New Jersey’s colleges and universities to work together to enhance the quality of life for our citizens, communities and State. I believe that what we are starting in New Jersey can be a national and international model.”

(L to R) Dr. Joseph Youngblood, vice provost and dean of the John S. Watson School of Public Service of Thomas Edison State University and Steven Rose, president, Passaic County Community College

In an event attended Tuesday by more than 50 academic and community leaders at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) headquarters in Princeton, 19 higher education officials signed the Declaration which, in part, promised that they would forge “meaningful, reciprocal partnerships” with their communities.

Dr. Nancy Cantor, chancellor of the Rutgers-Newark campus, gave the keynote address to the group.

“Higher education institutions—from liberal arts colleges in small towns or major research universities in large cities, to two-year colleges in communities of all sizes—are anchor institutions. We take our very identities from our physical, spiritual, economic, social, cultural, and human capital connections to the communities in which we are located,” Cantor said. “Our publics need us to live up to our full potential as anchor institutions, leveraging our intellectual, human, social, and financial capital with partners across sectors to take on the increasingly complex challenges of our increasingly interconnected world. When we do, we can be sure that the work we do together locally will resonate globally.”

New Jersey Coalition of Anchor Institutions
Declaration of Commitment

May 30, 2017

The New Jersey Coalition of Anchor Institutions is rooted in the public and
democratic mission of higher education and based on the idea that anchor
institutions can play a pivotal role in forging and strengthening meaningful,
reciprocal partnerships to contribute to, support, and sustain strong, healthy
communities. As critical and enduring sources of stability, growth and
development, anchor institutions are ideally positioned to catalyze action to
address a city’s most critical challenges and build a more democratic, just and
equitable society. To realize its mission in practice, The New Jersey Coalition
of Anchor Institutions and its charter members — Atlantic City, Camden,
Newark, Paterson and Trenton — are committed to leveraging the resources of
higher education institutions to revitalize, strengthen, empower and improve
their respective communities.

In partnership with the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the
participating colleges and universities, through its statewide network of partners,
formally establishes the New Jersey Coalition of Anchor Institutions to share
best practices across the state, working with communities to identify strategic,
sustainable and scalable solutions that impact policy and practice throughout
New Jersey.

Secretary Hendricks thanked Dr. Walt MacDonald, president and CEO of ETS, and Lenora Green, executive director of the Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy at ETS, for their research and leadership.

Other distinguished leaders pledging their support at the event included Barbara Gaba, president, Atlantic Cape Community College; Phoebe Haddon, chancellor, Rutgers-Camden; David Schroeder, president, Pillar College; Richard Levao, president, Bloomfield College; Steven Rose, president, Passaic County Community College; Yvonne Zuidema, president, United Way of Passaic County; Jianping Wang, president, Mercer County Community College; George Pruitt, president, Thomas Edison State University; Gregory Dell’Omo, president, Rider University; Eric Jackson, Mayor, City of Trenton; George Sowa, president and CEO, president and CEO, Greater Trenton, Inc.; Assembly Higher Education Chair Mila Jasey; Aaron Fichtner, Commissioner, Department of Labor and Workforce Development; Jeremy Spector, executive director, New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority; and Gabrielle Charette, executive director, Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

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