New Rutgers President Wants More State Funds

Article excerpt

Rutgers University's new president says more state investment is needed to elevate the school from good to great.

"The issue is: How much does the state need to invest in higher education to meet its goals? It's more than we're investing now," Dr. Robert Barchi said, noting that the state's share of Rutgers' budget has shrunk to 22 percent.

"We're looking more like a private institution all the time," Barchi said.

He acknowledged that a big part of his job will be stepping up private fundraising for the public university, which he noted has 400,000 living alumni.

Barchi took the helm at the 58,000-student university this week, welcoming the largest freshman class in its history and kicking off a year in which Rutgers is poised to grow exponentially as it absorbs most of the state's public medical schools.

He met with reporters on Tuesday afternoon at his office at the historic Old Queens campus off College Avenue in New Brunswick.

A physician and neuroscientist, Barchi previously served as president at Thomas Jefferson University and provost at the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia. He will make $650,000 a year as Rutgers' 20th president.

Barchi, 65, said he made a five-year commitment to Rutgers.

"As far as I'm concerned I work year-to-year," Barchi said. "I'm not in this game to be beloved."

Barchi steps in at a critical point in the university's 246-year history, as Rutgers is slated to take over the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The merger approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Christie last month gives Rutgers coveted dental and medical schools in Newark and New Brunswick. …