125 Years at the Edge In Knowledge
By the mid-1970s, the world’s technological landscape was being transformed by computers and advances in numerous other fields. Researchers were at work on the technologies underlying the Internet and personal wireless communications that would soon have a profound impact on daily life. In education and research, NCE was at the forefront of these many scientific and technological developments. The breadth of this activity and the recent founding of the school of architecture motivated discussion of a more descriptive name for the school. In September 1974, the Board of Trustees approved changing the name to New Jersey Institute of Technology, effective January 1, 1975.
The momentum of change in science and society over the past three decades has been matched by the pace of institutional evolution at NJIT. Much of the school’s transformation was initiated by Saul Fenster, who became president of NJIT in 1978. His tenure saw the founding of the College of Science and Liberal Arts, the School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College, and the College of Computing Sciences.
In 1978, NJIT had no on-campus housing. The first dorm, Redwood Hall, opened in 1979. Today, approximately 50 percent of first-year students live on campus in five residence halls. Other building projects initiated over the past 30 years reflect both the growth of NJIT’s academic programs and commitment to economic development in Newark and New Jersey. Among these are the Otto H. York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science, the William S. Guttenberg Information Technologies Center, and the three Enterprise Development Centers.
In 2005, the rededication of an extensively renovated Eberhardt Hall was the capstone of a $140-million building program that included a new Campus Center and Fenster Hall. The continuing physical transformation of the campus is an anchor of Newark’s renaissance. Like Newark Technical School, NJIT is vital to the life of its host city today and part of a very positive vision for the future.
In 2006, under the leadership of President Robert A. Altenkirch, NJIT is a research-intensive university that grants doctoral degrees in more than a dozen disciplines. Research funding is well over $70 million, compared with less than a million dollars in the 1970s. While committed to leading-edge scientific research, NJIT continues to be equally focused on it historic educational mission. That mission is to provide access to higher education to as many promising young women and men as possible. The school’s student population has not only grown over the past 125 years. It has become far more richly diverse, making a clear statement about NJIT’s commitment to extending the benefits of a college degree to talented students regardless of race, gender, national origin or personal economic circumstances.
Many things have changed since Professor Colton welcomed the first students to Newark Technical School in 1881. But his words are still an apt description of the university’s purpose. NJIT remains dedicated to meeting the “demands of an advanced civilization” through research and education applied to “useful ends.”