MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT: Moving from a period of uncertainty to anticipating the bustle of campus life.

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway
Photography by Nick Romanenko

I write this letter at a time of transition for Rutgers and the wider society. We bid farewell to Rutgers graduates who have endured and achieved during an incredibly difficult year, and we prepare to welcome thousands of new students as we return to a more normal campus experience. Like so many other institutions across the country, we are emerging from a period of danger, isolation, and uncertainty, and we hope that nations still in the worst throes of the pandemic will move swiftly toward better days. It is times like these that underscore the value of community—and how much this Rutgers community means to so many of us.

In offering remarks to our Class of 2021 graduates this spring, I quoted the poet Gwendolyn Brooks as a way of saying that as Rutgers alumni they hold both privileges and responsibilities. In her poem “Paul Robeson,” she wrote:

…We are each other’s harvest:

We are each other’s business:

We are each other’s magnitude and bond.

Brooks’s profound message is that we need one another. She reminds us that the vibrancy of our community is the accumulation—more than that, the amplification—of so many individual successes.

Our newest alumni—despite all the challenges and disappointments of the past year—will carry into the world a mighty harvest of accomplishments that add to the prestige of a Rutgers degree. I ask that you who have been graduates for much longer be sure to welcome and embrace them as they take their place alongside you.

I have been at Rutgers for nearly a year. But because of our remote environment, it feels more like year zero than year one. It has been a pleasure speaking to alumni around the country in various forums over the past 11 months, albeit from my house instead of in Boston or San Francisco or Atlanta. From that same chair, I have participated in the University Senate, met with faculty groups and student organizations, and talked with the staff at the Office of Student Affairs and other units across Rutgers. With your help, I’ve done my best to make this a learning year, but my Rutgers education is far from complete and won’t really commence until I begin to interact in person with students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the coming academic year.

I can’t wait for our dining halls and student centers to buzz again with activity, for our libraries and classrooms and sidewalks to begin filling with conversation. I can’t wait for my first visit with alumni, my first in-person student government meeting, my first dance marathon, my first meetings in Newark and Camden, my first time in a packed RAC. Until then, I thank all of you who have welcomed me and shared your ideas with me. Given the nature of this challenging year, I know that we haven’t always agreed, but I take comfort in knowing that we share our passion for Rutgers.

Have a great summer, and I look forward to seeing you this fall.

Jonathan Holloway is the 21st president of Rutgers University.