Dear Rutgers University – Newark colleagues,
I write today with news that I wish I could somehow forestall indefinitely: that our dear friend, colleague, confidante, cheerleader, sage, mentor, organizer, ambassador, counselor, and champion Vice Chancellor Marcia Brown will retire this summer. For over two decades she has been all of those things and many more to us at Rutgers-Newark, so it is impossible for me—for many of us, I’m certain—to imagine what we will do without her. But if anyone has given every ounce of herself to our institution—as well as to our city—and earned retirement, it is Marcia.
Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find someone who is more “Rutgers-Newark” than Marcia. She came to the university as a law student in the early years of the Minority Student Program and it wasn’t long before she had graduated and was running that signature program herself as Associate Dean. In later years, she served as Associate Dean and Director of the Academic Foundations Center, Vice Chancellor for Student and Community Affairs, Associate Dean for Program Development and adjunct professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, and did me—and all of us—the great good service of re-joining the Chancellor’s office in 2014 as Vice Chancellor for External and Governmental Relations. Throughout, she has been a constant force for holding Rutgers-Newark to our highest aspirations for ourselves in every dimension as a public good—like a compass unfailingly pointing us toward our North. We have seen that most vividly in recent years as she led our efforts in support of the city-wide Newark 2020 initiative, driving us to far exceed our goals to hire more Newarkers, buy more goods and services in Newark, and encourage more faculty and staff members to live in Newark. That kind of resolve and outstanding achievement have contributed enormously to our reputation among elected leaders at every level of government as not just a trusted partner, but an institution committed to innovation in the public interest.
For me, personally, it is frankly unfathomable that the day is coming when I will not have Marcia at my side. She has been not just a brilliant and consistently clear-eyed advisor on whom I can always rely to tell it like it is on everything from government and community relations to navigating our institution, but she also is a cherished friend, always ready with words of wisdom and encouragement even in the most difficult of times. She also is someone whom I—whom we all—have come to rely on unquestionably to represent Rutgers-Newark skillfully, diplomatically, and with an inimitable combination of grace and resolve, whether in the halls of government, in corporate board rooms, at the table with our anchor partners, or in neighborhood meetings with community members. As we work now to identify the person who will follow in Marcia’s footsteps, we take solace knowing that she has promised to stay close to us and remain a part of our efforts.
In the coming months, we will share more about the timing of Marcia’s retirement and plans for fully recognizing her singular contributions and accomplishments. As much as I wish we didn’t have to do this at all, I look forward to joining with you to celebrate Marcia for all she has done for us and for our city, and to express our profound gratitude to her collectively.