Rutgers Names Thomas Jefferson’s Barchi as New President

Rutgers University, New Jersey’s largest state institution of higher learning, named Thomas Jefferson University’s Robert Barchi as its next president.

Barchi will succeed Richard McCormick, who announced in May he would step down after almost 10 years as president, Rutgers said today in a webcast. Barchi takes over on Sept. 1.

He previously served as provost of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before becoming president of Thomas Jefferson, also in Philadelphia, in 2004. A neurologist, he received a Ph.D. and medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Rutgers is one of the top research universities in the U.S. and more people need to be aware of that, Barchi said in remarks that were webcast after his election.

“We have dozens of programs in the top 25 nationally,” Barchi said to the board of governors. “We have some programs that are the best in the world. Why don’t I hear that? It’s time for Rutgers to assume the position of leadership to which it is rightfully entitled.”

As president, Barchi will oversee the merger of Rutgers’s Camden campus into Rowan University, in Glassboro, under a plan from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The new president will draw on his experience running Thomas Jefferson, a health sciences university, to add medical and dental schools to Rutgers. He’ll also inherit an athletics program that spent more money on sports than any other public university in the six biggest football conferences in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Rutgers has more than 58,000 students on three campuses. It was founded in 1766 as Queen’s College and renamed in 1825 after Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers. Graduates include economist Milton Friedman, singer Paul Robeson and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who went to the law school.

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