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University Diversity News

Daniel Lee, director of the Student Wellness Center.

A $75,000 Hunger-Free Campus Grant from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education is helping the Rutgers University in Camden Raptor Pantry keep its shelves stocked for students facing food insecurity. The grant addresses a growing crisis that disproportionately impacts college students, a population whose food insecurity often goes unrecognized.

Keynote speaker Lloyd Freeman (RLAW'07)

Joy was in the air at the second annual celebration to honor Black and Latinx-identified undergraduate and graduate students who, through resolute persistence, successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at Rutgers University–Camden.

Known as the Rites of Passage, this meaningful ceremony that precedes commencement honors Black, African, and Latinx students, many of whom are the first in their families to receive degrees.

SJE director Keywuan Caulk giving opening remarks

The 25th annual Rainbow Graduation celebrated the achievements of current and past graduates this year while marking a milestone anniversary and honoring those who support Rutgers’ LGBTQIA+ community.

Rutgers dedicated Paul Robeson Plaza on the Voorhees Mall in 2019 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the graduation of its most acclaimed alumnus.

Paul Robeson, an athlete, actor, singer and civil rights activist who is one of Rutgers’ most notable alumni, would have celebrated his 125th birthday on April 9. To mark the occasion, various university organizations and alumni groups are holding several events in or around Rutgers University–New Brunswick throughout April to honor the 20th century Renaissance man’s legacy. 

Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis speaks on the importance of community centers and uplifting the community

As an anchor institution, Rutgers University in Camden has consistently provided educational and social services to Camden adults and children. Residents will now benefit from six newly designated Rutgers–Camden Community Partnership Centers thanks to a $1.4 million federal appropriation awarded to the university.

Red-green-orange gradient background featuring photos of people covered in the Professionally Black article

This year for Black History Month, we invited professionals and practitioners from around the university to share their experiences as Black professionals: the highs, lows, most impactful lessons and their advice to the next generation. Here is what they had to say.

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation logo

When racist, antisemitic graffiti was spray painted at Scotch-Plains Fanwood High School in 2018, officials reached out to the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center at Rutgers-Newark to help address the hatred behind the vandalism.

The effort helped ease tensions, which had long existed in both towns, and resulted in heightened awareness of bias and discrimination. Since, the center has held several “racial healing circles” in Scotch Plains and Fanwood, guiding participants to discover what they share with people of diverse backgrounds. 

Hend El-Buri, director of PantryRUN, left, helps prepare packages of food with student workers Shatiah Bulger, center, and Karyna Anderson. PHOTO CREDIT: Yolenni Torres

As grocery prices have increased in 2022, so have the numbers of students turning to the food pantry serving the Rutgers University–Newark community. “We've had a lot of new users,” says Hend El-Buri, director of PantryRUN. “Many are people who have never needed to ask for help.”

Members of the Rutgers Asian Student Council

The Rutgers Asian Student Council offers space for its Asian population to get together, contribute to campus activism and participate in group activities.

Leaders from Fiserv and Rutgers-Newark with recipients of the company's Back2Business grants. Photo: Tamara Fleming

Fiserv, Inc. and Rutgers University–Newark celebrated their commitment to minority business owners in New Jersey last week at an event announcing the statewide launch of the financial tech company’s Back2Business program, which will support the state’s minority-owned small businesses with a total of $1 million in funding.

Jassadi Moore (left), a Rutgers graduate student, and undergraduate Stephanie Lopez-Perez (right) add books from Cheryl A. Wall’s collection to the shelves of the new reading room at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center dedicated to the late Rutgers professor.

Rutgers Student Affairs will dedicate a reading room of nearly 2,000 books from the personal library of Cheryl A. Wall, a longtime professor at the university and highly regarded scholar of African American literature, American literature and feminist criticism.  

Inclusion Summit Change Maker Panelists

Three Rutgers Today staffers recently attended the Tyler Clement Center's first Inclusion Summit, organized to bring members of the Rutgers Community together to explore issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Panels explored issues of race in America, neurodiversity, indigenous history and culture and understanding culturally significant holidays.

VPVA Clothesline Project – three shirts hanging with statements from survivors written on them

This October, the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick has taken steps in its research and advocacy work to meet the needs of the entire Rutgers community, not just those traditionally assumed to be at risk of domestic violence.

Nyeema Watson

Nyeema Watson, the vice chancellor for diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement, is at the helm of Rutgers–Camden’s efforts to expand excellence in equity and education.

The first cohort of Rutgers University–Camden’s Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program

Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis, Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen, and community leaders gathered to celebrate the exceptional contributions of six Rutgers–Camden students who worked alongside Camden leaders this summer.

Rutgers Future Scholars (Newark)

Students enroll in academic enrichment courses, learn about financial literacy and civic and cultural engagement, among many other subjects and areas of development. A heavy emphasis is placed on college readiness and career exploration.

Keywuan Caulk

Read a letter from Keywuan Caulk, director of the Center for Social Justice Education & LGBT Communities, about the power of coming out.

hispanic latinx heritage month

For Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, we asked students to write an open letter about their heritage; their loved ones and those responsible for their cultural upbringing and to share what makes them proud to be who they are. These are their stories.


Faculty across Rutgers share why it's important to mark this day and what are appropriate ways to honor the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. 

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

APIDA Heritage Month represents an opportunity for the AACC to highlight the necessity for social justice work to combat anti-Asian violence and sentiment.

Denise Rodgers (MD), Vice Chancellor Inter-professional Programs, RBHS , CACP Chair, with Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award recipient, Peter Guarnaccia (Faculty, New Brunswick) at the Beloved Community Awards celebration

“Taking time to recognize members of our community in this way each year speaks loudly and clearly about our values,” said President Jonathan Holloway. “The work that today’s honorees are doing to build a beloved community at Rutgers is so important.”

Tehyla McLeod and President Jonathan Holloway

In September 2020, Mason Gross School of the Arts (MGSA) art & design student Tehyla McLeod grabbed her sketchbook and headed to the New Brunswick train station. Her goal: create portraits of the displaced and struggling community of people who congregate at and around the station.

President Jonathan Holloway poses with students at the Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative launch event on May 19, 2022.

The initiative grew out of an op-ed President Jonathan Holloway wrote for The New York Times about requiring a year of national public service from all young people before age 25 so they can help others while getting to know others’ similarities and differences through a common purpose.

The Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services Community Center

Rutgers has opened a new building to better serve adults with autism spectrum disorder through vocational and recreational programs, making it possible to expand existing programs to address a growing need in New Jersey, which has the highest autism rates in the country.

The Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services Community Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, is the first of its kind at a higher education institution in the United States. The $9.5 million project was financed with philanthropic funds.

Derrick Darby headshot

The Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of Philosophy who studies the intersection of hip hop and politics and whose work focuses on social and political philosophy was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Jamille Nagtalon-Ramos, assistant professor of nursing

“My research interests have been fueled by my cultural roots and clinical expertise,” Jamille Nagtalon-Ramos said. "I am deeply interested in investigating the Filipino American experience and the role that family, culture, and the community play in influencing health outcomes. I will always be grateful that I not only worked with other leaders as part of this cohort, but that I was able to meet so many young people and their loved ones, who stand to benefit from the cohort’s work.”

2022-23 Faculty Year-End Excellence Award Recipients

Each year these awards honor members of the Rutgers community selected by their colleagues for outstanding contributions to teaching, research, and public service. This year, 29 individuals have been selected for recognition in ten awards categories.

2022-2023 Chancellor-Provost Awards for Faculty Excellence

The annual Chancellor-Provost Awards for Faculty Excellence recognize Rutgers–New Brunswick faculty members who have made outstanding contributions through innovative teaching; cross-disciplinary research, inquiry, or artistic expression; public engagement; and service.

2023 Chancellor’s Awards for Diversity, Inclusion, and Civic Engagement Award Recipients

These awards celebrate those who strive daily to foster understanding and learning, invest in building relationships across differences, and offer new ways to promote equity and diversity.

MUTUAL MENTORING GRANT PROGRAM – mosaic of people and patterns

IFH core faculty members Dr. Darina Petrovsky and Dr. Ann Nguyen are the recipients of grants from Rutgers University Equity and Inclusion’s Mutual Mentoring Program. The program supports faculty at any career stage in developing robust mentorship networks, within and outside of Rutgers University, to combat isolation and ensure all faculty have the resources they need to thrive.

Leslie Alexander – The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History

A renowned scholar of late 18th and early 19th century American history, Alexander joined Rutgers University this year as the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of History and will begin teaching classes this semester.

A printed sign quotes Martin Luther King Jr., an international leader of the civil rights movement.

Fifty-six years after Martin Luther King Jr. told students at Southern Methodist University that “we have come a long way, but we still have a long, long way to go,” Rutgers philosopher Derrick Darby is making a similar argument.

In his new book, A Realistic Blacktopia: Why We Must Unite to Fight, Darby draws on King, W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black radical tradition to explore how to make progress in the antiracist struggle.

Rutgers-Newark professor Salamishah Tillet

Pulitzer Prize-winning Rutgers-Newark professor Salamishah Tillet will co-curate an exhibition of monumental scale artworks created by six artists called Pulling Together for the inaugural exhibition of Beyond Granite, a commemorative program launching on the National Mall and around Washington, D.C. in 2023.

Diversity News photo collage

Read university diversity news.

Abby Morales and Dr. Salas-de La Cruz

Rutgers University–Camden researcher David Salas-de La Cruz, associate professor of chemistry in the Camden College of Arts and Sciences, is keenly aware that plastics touch every facet of our lives. However, rather than profit from his knowledge of plastics, Salas-de La Cruz has made it his life’s work to replace the petroleum-based materials fueling the world economy with natural alternatives.

Andrew Abeyta, Ph.D.

Reflecting on a childhood spent among the Hispanic and white populations of the Southwestern United States, Rutgers University–Camden Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrew Abeyta, Ph.D. recalled feeling “in between”—not fluent enough in Spanish to fit in with recent Mexican immigrants, nor part of the narrow definition of “American” held by his white peers. Abeyta lived his formative years feeling like an outsider in his own community, which later provided the focus of the psychological research he conducts.

Rigoberto González

Rigoberto González, Professor and Director of Rutgers University–Newark’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, has been selected by Library of America (LOA) to be Principal Humanities Advisor for Latino Poetry, a national public humanities initiative planned for 2024-25.

Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman

PBS audiences will get a rare glimpse into the ordinary lives of extraordinary abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in a pair of new documentaries featuring two Rutgers–New Brunswick historians.

Murray Honig (left) and his son Elie Honig

Rutgers scholar Elie Honig’s short film on the 60th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann is a contender for outstanding news analysis: editorial and opinion. The project, which was very much a personal one, is up for an Emmy Award.

Keith Green

Built in the mid-1840’s, the Peter Mott House is one of the few surviving Underground Railroad sites owned by an African-American abolitionist in an African-American community.

Frederick Curry

Dance faculty Frederick Curry has received the National Dance Education Organization's Outstanding Leadership Award in the Area of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Roxane Gay headshot

Roxane Gay, an internationally recognized writer, editor, cultural critic and educator, has been selected as the next Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Salamishah Tillet Headshot

Rutgers University–Newark Professor Salamishah Tillet was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in criticism for her New York Times essays on race in arts and culture, the Pulitzer Prize board announced.

Chantel Amissah in the Zimmerli Art Museum

Throughout the spring, Chantel Amissah created a video series spotlighting different women artists and their contributions to global women’s rights, which she shared on the museum’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Surreal collage of a head with flowers growing out of it

The new Arts in Health Research Lab will perform arts-in-health research in New Jersey, develop innovative research strategies, including arts-based research methods, and establish a research plan to assess the health impact of Mason Gross and NJPAC’s productions and programs. The Lab will also engage students in developing research and leadership skills and encourage creativity and interdisciplinary research.

Rutgers music professor Min-Kyung Kwon playing the piano

Rutgers music professor Min-Kyung Kwon will be performing the world premiere of James Ra’s "Fantasia on Sae Taryeong" on piano Saturday as part of the New Jersey Symphony’s Lunar New Year celebration.

"A Question of Time,'' mural by Armisey Smith at the Paul Robeson Campus Center

As the Newark Festival begins October 6, the Paul Robeson Galleries are hosting new exhibitions as part of the celebration and encouraging viewers to check out new murals on campus, created with gallery support. The presentations are in keeping with the gallery’s mission to honor the life and work of activist and artist Paul Robeson, said the galleries’ director and chief curator Anonda Bell.

“Portraits of Camden”

Cyril Reade, Ph.D., director of the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts (RCCA), has unveiled the work of six artists with deep personal and professional ties to the city of Camden in the exhibition “Portraits of Camden.” 

Art Matters

Express Newark was conceived as an art-making “third space” in which the university and community would come together with equal voices and experiences. As cultural institutions all across the United States face a reckoning over racial injustice, Express Newark urgently responds to these demands by valuing art’s ability to amplify marginalized voices, address critical issues, and advocate for change. This initiative addresses many of Rutgers’ strategic priorities.

Art as Activism House

The Global Village Art as Activism House, a Douglass living-learning community focused on the global role of art in social justice, wrapped up the academic year by putting on their annual exhibition, which included student artwork that focused on the theme of creating community.

Artists pose with PES co-directors Rebecca Jampol and Jasmine Wahi (center) in front of their mural. Photo by Rachel Fawn Alban

In a mural created by Rutgers–Newark BOLD scholars and acclaimed artist Adama Delphine Fawundu, a blue figure with her arms outstretched to the sky symbolizes freedom and womanhood. But to her creators, she also represents something more personal.

Girl watching a movie in a theater

We need more comprehensive inclusion, stated Holly Blackford Humes, professor of English at Rutgers University–Camden. As part of Rutgers–Camden RePRESENTation Matters monthlong storytelling project, Humes spoke to the role of films in both validating children’s identities and providing windows into other lives and experiences.

Black portraiture

In this moment of profound uncertainty, reconnection, and newfound creativity, the organizers of the Black Portraiture[s] conferences invite the submission of abstracts summarizing a paper, panel, or performance related to the role of “play” in past and contemporary African Diasporic art, performance, liberation struggles, and cultural work.

Headshot of Zina Ogunnaya

Congratulations to Zina Ogunnaya, GSAPP Clinical PsyD Student and Global Student Prize Finalist! This award recognizes extraordinary achievements of young changemakers around the globe.

Talia Rosen posed in front of cherry blossom tree

Before starting her sophomore year at Rutgers School of Nursing, Talia Rosen had never spoken with another Orthodox Jewish woman who identified as queer. Now preparing to receive her bachelor of science degree in nursing in May, the Teaneck native has spent the past two years building what she describes as a small, vibrant community of gay and Jewish students on the university’s New Brunswick campus. 

Rutgers Truman Scholar Maddison Van Der Mark (SAS '24) and Anne Wallen, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships.

Rutgers–New Brunswick junior Maddison Van Der Mark didn’t realize the public service work she had been doing most of her life – namely serving her country in active duty as a sergeant in the army, volunteering to teach boxing to at-risk youth and tutoring veterans in writing – weren’t just hobbies until she came to campus.

Asia J. Norton headshot

“I’ve witnessed the disparities in Newark and in surrounding areas. It wasn’t fair and it continues not to be fair. I’ve always thought lawyers had super powers and I thought that understanding the law would be important in helping the students of Newark,’’ says Newark native Asia J. Norton, who is a member of the Class of 2023.

Kyra Bostic, a Rutgers University-New Brunswick senior

Kyra Bostic, a Rutgers University–New Brunswick senior, served as the High Seas Youth Ambassador for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global authority on the environment.

Sara Rubiano

This summer, with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and economics in hand from the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Sara Rubiano – who came to the country as an undocumented immigrant when she was 2 years old – will start working as a private banking analyst at JPMorgan’s International Private Bank.

Noor Amanullah

“I still want help impact change. I’m interested in working in Washington, D.C. with a research center or other entity working towards better outcomes for the community," Noor Amanullah said. "I want to pursue a doctorate in social policy, so I am currently assessing the best path forward on that."

Shakee Merritt in front of a mural

After being involved with political campaigns on and off campus, Shakee Merritt is now working on launching the GENNEX Political Action Committee, “a PAC dedicated to educating, empowering, and energizing Generation Z to run, vote and partake in the democratic system one hundred percent.”

Divon Pender outside of South Plainfield High School

“I thought there needs to be somebody who has seen the school and been through that system and knows the teachers and students,” said Divon Pender. “I thought, ‘I can be that person.’ I felt a calling to be part of the school district.”

Teresa Osorio, a graduating senior majoring in biology

Rutgers University in Camden is proud to congratulate Teresa Osorio, a graduating senior majoring in biology, for her acceptance into the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The fellowship is one of the most lucrative and prestigious awards an undergraduate can receive; it covers three years of tuition to a Ph.D. program and includes a $37,000 annual stipend.

From left: Rachael Carrión, Sohaib Hassan, Sean Zujkowski and Stella Campbell are among the newest inductees into the Matthew Leydt Society

“When I found out, I was amazed that I was chosen and just really thankful,” said the Edison resident and Goldwater scholar who emigrated with his family from Pakistan as a 6-year-old and will be studying for his doctoral degree in biomedical informatics at Stanford University starting in August.

Daniel Ortega in a lab

Daniel Ortega wanted to become a physician since middle school when his brother ended up in the emergency department, but he kept his dream a secret for years because it seemed out of reach. Seeing the power doctors had to make a difference when his family received a middle of the night phone call became a transformative moment that inspired him to want to join the small number of Hispanic men entering medicine.

Celín Hidalgo

Celín Hidalgo, a senior at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, graduated this spring with dual majors in astrophysics and art history from the School of Arts and Sciences. She was selected as a Brooke Owens Fellow and will be interning at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., this summer. 

Mahinour Abdour (left) receives the Creative Achievement in Fine Arts Award at the 2023 SASN Annual Awards banquet.

“As someone who is pretty much thankful of every second of the day no matter where my day has gone to or what I have been facing, I am grateful to my professors and RU-N for giving me a glimpse of the world so I can make a difference after my senior year here and make the world a better place,” said Mahinour Abdou. “RU-N has been like a board game where you never know where the next treasure is coming from. It’s been amazing.”

Travis Anane

The goal of Access Week, organized by Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement is “to broaden awareness and amplify the equity and access programs and initiatives that exist on the New Brunswick campus,” said Tiffiny Butler, the associate vice chancellor for educational equity at DICE. 

Cabaret Theatre’s Uchenna Agbu, Livingston Theater Company’s Kira Harris and College Avenue Players’ Kyle Cao on stage at Cabaret's Black Box Theatre.

For the first time in 48 years, all three student theater groups at Rutgers-New Brunswick are being led by artistic directors of color.

It’s no coincidence, said the trio – Cabaret Theatre’s Uchenna Agbu, College Avenue Players’ Kyle Cao and Livingston Theater Company’s Kira Harris. Their diversity reflects a growing trend toward inclusion both at Rutgers and in the arts, media and society at large, they said.

AnnMarie Bediako

International student AnnMarie Bediako guided teens in Philadelphia and South Jersey in explorations of career possibilities.

Rutgers–Newark Debate Team member Temitope Ogundare hones her skills.

The Rutgers–Newark Debate Team, founded in 2008 and sponsored by the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) and the Office of the Chancellor, was chosen to host the event in part because of its track record of historic wins.  Since 2014, it’s been ranked among the 20 best debate teams in the nation. 

Rutgers students cheering at a sports game

Members of Rutgers’ Class of 2026 have already built a resume of activism, achievement and service before entering their first university classroom or laboratory.

Danna Green

Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative taught Danna Green about the power residents have to make a difference.

Natalia Murillo Salazar

After graduation, Murillo Salazar is considering law school and is interested in pursuing immigration law, where the knowledge she has gained from the School of Criminal Justice will give her a better understanding of how the law can be used to help struggling immigrant families, she said.

Rutgers student Olena Shutko on park bench

Rutgers student Olena Shutko interned with the Healthy Homes impact team, which is part of a community organization called Believe in a Healthy Newark. Her experience helping the city implement lead-free housing policies inspired a new career outlook for her own future and positively affected living conditions for Newark residents.

The RCC E-Board poses for a picture.

The president of RCC for the 2021-2022 school year, Sabrina Lew, reflected on the club’s major growth. “We’ve more than doubled in size since then—with nearly 100 members coming to our meetings—despite the challenges of sustaining it in a virtual setting due to COVID.” 

Spring 2022 commencement graduate smiling

Rutgers University–Camden graduates celebrated with four commencement ceremonies and the inaugural Rites of Passage ceremony for Black and Latinx students.

Gary Carter

In high school, Gary Carter had a mentor who taught him about accounting. “It inspired me to become an accountant,” Carter said. “He shed light on how having your own assets, your own business would bring you generational wealth. I wanted to learn more.”

Dominique Hazel-Criss

“Issues of diversity, equity and inclusion are present everywhere in our lives and if we do not acknowledge them, we continue to support and enable a system meant to oppress,” she said.

Rutgers students walking

All eligible New Jersey students can attend Rutgers tuition-free for four years through a combination of university, federal and state financial aid programs that make obtaining a college degree from the state university more accessible and affordable.

Instructor Jackie Carelli points third grader Phoenix Patilla to her spot on the floor during an after school program at Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts in New Brunswick.

Every Wednesday after school this spring, students at the Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts in New Brunswick have been moving, dancing, leaping and twisting, all while learning about community, emotions and identity.

Adult Autism Support Professionals

The Autism MVP Foundation Endowed Fellowship will create new, hands-on educational opportunities for Rutgers graduate students who want to empower adults with autism.

Patience Williams

Patience Williams is awarded a 2020-21 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Scholarship.

Tom Pisano is one of 162 soon-to-be physicians in RWJMS’s Class of 2021 who discovered the name of the residency program where they will spend the next three to seven years training in the medical specialty of their choice.

When Tom Pisano started making rounds in his wheelchair, he worried his patients would consider him less capable than his Robert Wood Johnson Medical School peers. However, he quickly found it had the opposite effect on patients and put them at ease.

Rutgers block logo on top of pride flag

The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities selected Airelle Smith as the 2023 recipient of the Dr. Zaneta Rago-Craft Award.  
Smith, the assistant director for career advocacy and professional inclusion with the Office of Career Exploration and Success (CES) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, received the award for being an outstanding member of the community who offers exceptional leadership, campus involvement and commitment to campus change.  

Headshots of NJ advocates for AAPI curriculum bills

New Jersey is the second state to require AAPI history as part of its public school curriculum, following Illinois. By incorporating AAPI history into schools, students with AAPI heritage feel better represented and the material helps fight harmful stereotypes.

Teacher sitting on floor asking students questions

“The program has had an enormous impact on the GSE, the larger Rutgers–New Brunswick community and, most importantly, on communities across the region and state of New Jersey,” said Blanchett. “I could not be more proud of Associate Dean Nora Hyland and GSE faculty, staff, students and alumni for being the recipients of such a prestigious national award that supports our mission.”

Ibram X. Kendi and Antonio Tillis

Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis's bold vision for the Chancellor's Lecture Series on Global Racial Reckoning and Civility came to fruition for the second consecutive year on Monday, March 27, as a standing-room-only crowd of more than 250 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of the Rutgers Board of Trustees gathered at Rutgers University in Camden for a keynote speech by five-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi. 

Work Towards Inclusion, DEI Campus Climate Survey

The first-ever Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Campus Climate Survey is open to eligible students, faculty and staff through April 10, 2023. It stems from the first University Diversity Strategic Plan, which affirmed Rutgers’ commitment to purposefully support efforts to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion across the university. 

Lives in Translation student image

Faculty and students from Lives in Translation, a RU-N effort recruiting undergraduate volunteers to serve as interpreters, testified in front of the New Jersey State Senate Government Committee, advocating for a bill that would improve accessibility for residents with limited English proficiency.

Charles A. Brown

Charles A. Brown began leading Rutgers Business School’s Office of Diversity Programs nearly a decade ago, overseeing programs to attract historically underrepresented students to business fields and to prepare them to take on leadership positions in the corporate world.

mom instructing daughter

The conference, called the Annual New Jersey Convening on Diversifying the Teacher Workforce, will be held in coordination with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NJACTE). It will feature policy makers, district leaders and Rutgers-Newark faculty and researchers discussing efforts to increase the number of Black and Latinx educators in New Jersey.

Fulbright Rutgers–Newark

Rutgers–Newark is proud to be named a Fulbright Hispanic-Serving Institution leader for the second year in a row by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). This designation recognizes the noteworthy engagement that selected Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) have achieved with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. 

Group photo of law students

The Minority Student Program (MSP) at Rutgers Law School's Newark campus received the 2022 American Bar Association’s (ABA) Dean Henry J. Ramsey, Jr. Diversity Award. According to the ABA law student division, the award “recognizes excellence in activities that have contributed toward the achievement and advancement of women, minorities, persons with disabilities in the profession and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.” 

Lara Delmolino and a student at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center.

When Sandra Harris founded the Douglass Development Disabilities Center (DDDC) in 1972 little was known about autism, and the services needed to help children with this neurological developmental disorder were scarce.

Fifty years later, as the DDDC commemorates a half-century supporting the autism community and providing training for professionals, the prevalence of autism has risen with 1 in 44 8-year-old children in the United States and 1 in 35 in New Jersey on the autism spectrum.

Group of students

The university’s first diversity strategic plan, announced in a message from President Jonathan Holloway to the Rutgers community, identifies five key priorities: developing a diverse community, promoting inclusive scholarship, defining substantive community engagement, building capacity for inclusive climates and developing the infrastructure to drive change.

Diversity peer educators Brittany Burke (SEBS '23), left, and Ashlee Bonsi (SAS '23), right, flank Darnell Thompson, assistant director of education with the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities.

Now in its third year, the Diversity Peer Educators program trains Rutgers University–New Brunswick students to educate their peers on topics of diversity, inclusion and social justice through workshops with the goal of building inclusive communities across campus.

President Jonathan Holloway in front of a microphone talking

Jonathan Holloway is a leading scholar of Black history, a professor at Yale University for many years, a deep-dive academic who has written and edited several tomes on the topic.

Zoom bombing and racial time theft by Melissa Wooten - African American man looking shocked after looking at some harmful comments seen during a zoom meeting

During the opening night, virtual Alumni Mixer for Access Week, a participant wrote a racist message in the Zoom chat and the “N” word across the screen. We identified the participant and promptly removed the person from the meeting. The incident was reported to university authorities. Our guest speaker was gracious with his time and stayed until everyone who had a question received an answer.

Vice Chancellor Sherri-Ann Butterfield and Express Newark Director and Professor in English  Fran Bartkowski convene at Shine Portrait Studio

In this video, Sherri-Ann Butterfield and Fran Bartkowski from Rutgers–Newark discuss their joint class on Black Lives Matter and HBO's "The Wire."

The new directors from left to right: Patrick Rosal, Rutgers-Camden; Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Rutgers-New Brunswick; Gregory Pardlo, Rutgers-Camden; Elise Boddie, Rutgers-Newark.

The Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers (ISGRJ) named four of the university’s most distinguished academic scholars in civil rights, history, literature, and creative writing as directors of campus branches across the university and launched a postdoctoral program supporting research in anti-racism and social inequality.

Diversity Events photo collage

Discover upcoming and past university diversity events.

Pictures of Hardenbergh Hall, Frelinghuysen Hall, Wood Lawn Mansion, Livingston Campus,

Rutgers is taking new steps to acknowledge its connection to slavery and racial injustice with the creation of four additional historical markers that tell the story of its early benefactors whose families made their fortunes through the slave economy.

Enobong (Anna) Branch

President Jonathan Holloway promoted Enobong (Anna) Branch, sociology scholar and author, who also manages the division of diversity, inclusion and community engagement at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, to her new role in August 2020. Branch’s first order of business: lead the University Equity Audit Holloway commissioned to identify areas for improvement and the next steps to make Rutgers a national leader in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Black Lives Matter signs at protest

“It is really about helping people understand the social mechanisms that create, maintain, and reproduce social inequalities,” said James Jones, an assistant professor in African American studies at Rutgers University-Newark who studies race, politics and culture and is one of 12 faculty members from across the university recently selected as fellows at the institute.

Enobong (Anna) Branch and Nyeema C. Watson

Black History Month is nearing a close, but the effort to build a more inclusive community at Rutgers is just getting started. This month Rutgers Today spoke with two women who are leading that charge: Enobong (Anna) Branch, senior vice president for equity at Rutgers University, and Nyeema C. Watson, vice chancellor of diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement at Rutgers University-Camden. 

Bildner Center

The New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) recently awarded a $10,173 action grant to the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, located on the College Avenue campus, to examine the complex solidarity and friction within Black-Jewish relations.

The Black Camden Oral History Project is being led by Kendra D. Boyd, assistant professor in the Department of History at Rutgers University–Camden, and Jesse Bayker, research project manager and digital archivist at the Scarlet and Black Research Center, part of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

The Black Camden Oral History Project, led by Kendra D. Boyd and Jesse Bayker, will tell the stories, through first-person accounts, of life and activism in the city, including the Black student protest movement at Rutgers University–Camden.

Stressed college student

Academic stress takes a toll on the mental well-being of certain groups of college students more than others  a correlation further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Rutgers New Jersey Medical School study.

Rutgers School of Public Health

Socially disadvantaged children and those from minority backgrounds are less likely to receive services before 36 months of age, Rutgers study finds.

Transgender man

Rutgers researchers provide guidelines for fertility preservation counseling before gender-affirming medical procedures for transgender men.

SC&I Associate Professor Charles Senteio and his research collaborators based in Brazil seek to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to examine words and phrases used in medical records to identify biases which can help inform interventions.

School of Communication and Information Associate Professor Charles Senteio and his research collaborators based in Brazil seek to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to examine words and phrases used in medical records to identify biases which can help inform interventions.

lady dreaming and thinking outdoor with ocean beach and sunset light in background

Rutgers professor of sociology Karen Cerulo, Ph.D. analyzes what it means to dream and imagine future possibilities, and how people’s dreams differ based on a variety of social factors.

Rutgers-Newark associate professor Patricia Akhimie looks pensive with her chin placed in her hand

Rutgers–Newark is joining a network of scholars working to uncover the beginnings of modern conceptions of race and racism through the study of pre-modern times through an external $3.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Portrait of Charles “Chuck” A. Wright III

Charles “Chuck” A. Wright III beams when talking about his new role leading fundraising and alumni engagement efforts at Rutgers University–Camden. “I love the focus here on underrepresented and first-generation students,” Wright says. “These students have big dreams and they go after them. To be able to support their dreams is exciting.”

Grace Lynne Haynes

Less than a month after earning her MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, a T-shirt Grace Lynne Haynes designed for Black History Month hit the racks at Old Navy.

Brennah Lambert

“I wanted a place where people could feel welcomed and included,” said Brennah Lambert, a 2020 alumna of Rutgers School of Business–Camden and owner of LesbiVeggies, a plant-based, gluten-free café in Audubon, N.J. The self-taught chef knew the menu would be an important part of the restaurant, but for this Gen Z entrepreneur, the atmosphere was equally crucial.

Rutgers graduate Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

As a first-generation Palestinian American, Rutgers alumnus Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh intimately understands the sometimes-isolating experience of being Muslim in America. “My mom is a Palestinian refugee, and my dad is a Jordanian immigrant,” he says. “At a very young age, I was socially conscious about movements happening abroad and what my identity means in the scope of living in America.”

Lavett Ballard

Artwork by Lavett Ballard, a 2014 graduate of Rutgers University–Camden, is featured on the cover of the latest issue of TIME, the second instance her work has graced the magazine.

From left: Judith P Fenelus, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, Denise Cook, Yuki Rice and Ronald Rice, Jr.

An endowed scholarship honoring the work of state Senator Ronald L. Rice, a Rutgers–Newark alumnus and powerful champion of fairness and opportunity, will support undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Criminal Justice.

Assata Davis

Assata Davis’s passion for racial and social justice was sparked in middle school at the start of the Black Lives Matter movement and continued to grow at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Honors College, where she thrived as an academic standout and student leader.

Artwork: Layqa Nuna Yawar, Between the Future Past, 2021-22

Art & Design BFA alum and muralist Layqa Nuna Yawar is one of two artists commissioned to create permanent artwork at the newly renovated Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. This is the first significant art commissioned at the airport since 1937.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Ralph always wanted to attend Rutgers because Princeton native Paul Robeson, star performer-athlete and activist, had studied there, she told OWN’s “Where Are They Now.” 

Jelani Cobb headshot

An expert on how race, politics, history, and popular culture intersect in America, Jelani Cobb happily shares the twists and turns of his lifelong love of learning. From attending elementary school in Queens to storming the administration building at Howard University to earning his doctorate at Rutgers University and serving as dean of the journalism school at Columbia University, Jelani (which means “strong, powerful”) Cobb has blazed a trail of accomplishment.

jacqueline romero

Jacqueline Romero, the groundbreaking new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is a Rutgers Law School in Newark graduate who thrives on the powerful position’s enormous responsibility.

A Raisin in the Sun

In some ways, the chance to direct Lorraine Hansberry’s theatrical masterpiece “A Raisin in the Sun,’’ which opens at Newark Symphony Hall on Sunday, is the result of a dream deferred for Rutgers-Newark alumna and retired vice chancellor Marcia Brown.

Linda Stamato and Sandy Jaffe

Rutgers alumni Sandy Jaffe and Linda Stamato have funded the creation of a research fellowship at the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) at Rutgers University–Newark. A key admissions factor at HLLC is a commitment to social justice and community building. 

Carolina Cabrera DiGiorgio

Carolina Cabrera DiGiorgio’s journey taught her about its destination. It began in Honduras, grew in New Jersey, and flourished at Rutgers–Camden and in the practice of corporate law. Now it is blossoming as DiGiorgio shines in a new role: president and CEO of Congreso de Latinos Unidos.

Nancy La Vigne head shot

Rutgers–Newark alumna Nancy La Vigne is a widely recognized criminal justice policy expert who last month was appointed by President Biden to direct the National Institute of Justice, a component of U.S Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which works to reduce crime, assist victims, and advance racial equity in the administration of justice.

Rutgers H.O.P.E. Clinic director, Frank Giannelli (right), accepts a $60,000 check donation on April 19 from the Affinity Foundation, the nonprofit organization of Affinity Federal Credit Union. The gift allows clinic officials to expand primary health care services for underserved populations across central New Jersey. (R) Frank Giannelli, Jr. trustee, Affinity Foundation; MaryAnne Melanson, trustee, Affinity Foundation; Kawanzaa King, trustee, Affinity Foundation; Karla Wallack, executive director, Affini

“Part of our mission is to make medical services accessible and affordable to the communities we partner with,” said Frank Giannelli, an assistant professor for the physician assistant program at the Rutgers School of Health Professions. “With help from Affinity, we can provide free primary care to uninsured and underserved adults and keep the clinic open longer.”

Woman with girl in wheelchair

People with autism and intellectual disabilities historically have a life expectancy nearly 20 years less than the general population, in part because of a lack of specialized care.

To address these health inequities, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, the RWJBarnabas Health network and nonprofit organization Woods Services are establishing the first integrated primary and behavioral health care center for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism in New Jersey.

Rutgers nurses

To encourage students to join nursing’s dwindling ranks, an anonymous donor gave the Rutgers School of Nursing $2 million to establish an endowed fund that will provide full tuition scholarships for nursing undergraduates each year. The first preference for the scholarship goes to bachelor’s degree students from Newark area high schools, particularly those coming from Weequahic High School, where the donor graduated.

Dr. Louis W. Sullivan smiling, sitting in a chair


The current state of health equity and medical education were key topics at a webinar sponsored by Rutgers University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice. The Proctor Institute – housed in the Rutgers–New Brunswick Graduate School of Education – hosted the event in honor of Black History Month.

Collage of photos of healthcare patients

COVID-19 changed the way we communicate and interact globally while underscoring deep inequities in access to the internet and digital technology, notably among urban-dwelling older adults on fixed low-incomes. The lack of access to user-friendly technological devices and/or broadband services and proficiency in their usage, which is often referred to as “the digital divide,” is a long-recognized problem in communities of color, especially among older adults.

Doctors of RWJ

RWJBarnabas Health, the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, has been recognized by Newsweek as one of “America’s Greatest Workplaces 2023 for Diversity.” RWJBarnabas Health is one of 1,000 companies in the United States to earn the designation. RWJBarnabas Health, in partnership with Rutgers University, is New Jersey’s largest academic health care system.

patient in hospital bed

For decades, the U.S. has partnered with African nations to meet shared health challenges. A recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit marked an opportunity to announce new actions and renewed commitments from the U.S. to combat cancer across the continent of Africa. 

Doctor and patient

For millions of Americans who suffer from epilepsy, advanced monitoring is essential for diagnosis and effective treatment. But in New Jersey, accessing these services is difficult for patients from racial and ethnic minority groups, according to a Rutgers study.

School of Public Health

Three associate deans from the Rutgers School of Public Health recently designed and obtained funding for a scholarship program that will cover half the costs of tuition for 84 students, according to a press release.


The first event of its kind hosted by SC&I, a recent Rutgers symposium brought together scholars and advocates from Rutgers and beyond to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare, and share research methods, findings, and next steps.

Attendees at Perth Amboy Health Fair

Rutgers medical students from the community service organization North American Disease Intervention (NADI) were providing the on-site screenings as part of a health fair organized by Rutgers Global Health Institute in collaboration with multiple local partners.

Health care and technology

The grand opening of a new model for medical research and innovation from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School took place recently with the unveiling of the Center for Innovation, located on the main campus of the hospital in New Brunswick.

Coral Omene, MD, PhD

Coral Omene, MD, PhD, medical oncologist in the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research in partnership with ESPN to increase clinical trial awareness and enrollment of Black women with breast cancer.

Better Together

Whatever your role or practice environment, as a nurse, you are called to lead. Nurse Leadership through Crisis: Examining COVID-19, Health Equity, and Care a free, on-demand webinar, offers experience-based insights from seasoned nurse leaders, with practical pointers to help you meet challenges effectively.


Rutgers University–Camden has received a $306,000 grant from AmeriCorps and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of a new initiative to enhance public health resources across the country. 

Health Disparity

Rutgers is launching a new initiative to improve the health and quality of life in economically disadvantaged communities dealing with food insecurity, high unemployment, low high school graduation rates and shrinking household income – funded through a $10 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Community nursing

A health clinic run by Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden now offers a safe space for guests to receive basic medical care and advice. Many of the guests have no insurance and previously had to rely on emergency room visits to address routine conditions.

On the Pandemic

Join host Mary Marchetta O’Dowd as she welcomes Dr. Denise Rodgers, RBHS Vice-Chancellor for Interprofessional Programs, to discuss the relationship between race and health, the state of health disparities in minority populations, and the steps we can take to change the landscape.

George Hill, Rutgers‒Camden alum, microbiologist, and educator

A conversation led by Camden native George Hill, a nationally renowned microbiologist and educator, enlightened city residents and Rutgers University‒Camden students, faculty, and staff about COVID-19 vaccines.

An female essential worker wearing a mask and holding a disinfecting sprayer

While most Rutgers faculty and staff have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, a group of university employees continued to report to campus to do their jobs. Here are their stories.

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