List of Rutgers University presidents

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"Old Queens", built 1809–1823, is the oldest building on the Rutgers University campus. In its early days, it housed the school's students and classrooms. Today, it is home to the university's administration.

The President of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (informally called Rutgers University) /ˈrʌtɡərz/ is the chief administrator of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers was founded by clergymen affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church in 1766 as Queen's College and was the eighth-oldest of nine colleges established during the American colonial period. Before 1956, Rutgers was a small liberal arts college and became a full university in 1924 with the offering of graduate degree programs and the establishment of professional schools. Today, Rutgers is a public research university with three campuses in the state located in New Brunswick and Piscataway, Newark, and Camden. The state's flagship university with approximately 65,000 students and employing 20,000 faculty and staff members, Rutgers is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey.

Since 1785, twenty men have served as the institution's president, beginning with the Reverend Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, a Dutch Reformed clergyman who was responsible for establishing the college.[1][2] Before 1930, most of the university's presidents were clergymen affiliated with Christian denominations in the Reformed tradition (either Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, or German Reformed).[2][3] Two presidents were alumni of Rutgers College—the Rev. William H. S. Demarest (Class of 1883) and Philip Milledoler Brett (Class of 1892).[4][5] The current president is Dr. Robert L. Barchi (born 1946), a neuroscientist and physician who has served in this position since 2012.[6][7][8]

The president serves in an ex officio capacity as a presiding officer within the University's 59-member board of trustees and its eleven-member board of governors,[9] and is appointed by these boards to oversee day-to-day operations of the University across its three campuses. He is charged with implementing "board policies with the help and advice of senior administrators and other members of the university community."[10] The president is responsible only to those two governing boards—there is no oversight by state officials. Frequently, the president also occupies a professorship in his academic discipline and engages in instructing students.

Presidents of Rutgers University[edit]

The following twenty individuals have served as president of Rutgers University from the creation of the office in 1785 to the present. Those marked with their names in bold had graduated from Rutgers. Those marked with "↑" died in office. Where years don't overlap there was a gap of a few months while a suitable candidate was found, this usually occurred when someone died in office, or left unexpectedly to accept another position.

Presidents of Queen's College (1785–1825)[edit]

A stained-glass window in Kirkpatrick Chapel, given by the Frelinghuysen family, depicts the signing of the Queen's College charter in 1766.

Rutgers was founded as Queen's College on November 10, 1766, and is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution.[11][12] The university is one of only two colonial colleges that later became public universities.[a]

In the early days of Queen's College, the trustees wrote to the church's leadership in Amsterdam and at the University of Utrecht to seek candidates for the position of president.[11] In their correspondence, they expressed a wish that a prospective college president possess the following characteristics:[11]

  • (1) he was to fill the office of professor of theology,
  • (2) to oversee the instruction in languages through tutors until professors could be secured,
  • (3) to do more or less the work of a minister on the Lord’s Day,
  • (4) to be a man of tried piety,
  • (5) to be attached to the Constitution of the Netherlands Church,
  • (6) to be a man of thorough learning,
  • (7) to be good natured,
  • (8) to be free and friendly in conversation,
  • (9) to be master of the English language, and
  • (10) to be pleased to lecture on Marckii Medulla Theologiae Christianae.[b]

Its early history, Rutgers was closely allied with the Dutch Reformed Synod of New York which oversaw financial transactions and early selections of professors for Queen's College and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary.[14] The Rev. John Henry Livingston (1746–1825), who served as the college's fourth president and was responsible for establishing the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, was instrumental in raising funds to support the school after several years of being closed resulting from economic difficulties. Just before his death, Livingston raised enough donations and support to place the school on more stable financial footing, including arranging for a generous donation in 1825 from Colonel Henry Rutgers (1745–1830), a wealthy landowner and former Revolutionary War officer from New York City. The trustees of the school renamed the school in honour of Colonel Rutgers in that year.

# Portrait College President Years in office Education[2][3] Career[2][3] Notes
1 Hardenbergh1.jpg Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh
1786–1790↑ [2][3]
2 William Linn.jpg William Linn
(pro tempore)
3 Ira Condict.jpg Ira Condict
(pro tempore)
  • A.B., College of New Jersey[c] (Princeton), 1784
  • Ordained as Presbyterian minister by John Witherspoon, first served congregations at Newton, Upper Hardwick, and Shappenock in Sussex County, New Jersey (1787–1793).
  • Installed as pastor of First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1794, and appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at Queen's College in 1795.
  • Appointed president while college was closed 1795 to 1807, Condict provided theological instruction and oversaw the Queen's College Grammar School (now Rutgers Preparatory School)
  • After difficult fundraising effort, Queen's College reopened in 1807, cornerstone for Old Queen's building on April 27, 1809.
4 John Henry Livingston.jpg John Henry Livingston
  • Ordained as Dutch Reformed minister (1770) by Classis of Amsterdam, appointed Professor of Theology by Synod of New York
  • Began instructing candidates for ministry at home (1784), while serving a Manhattan congregation
  • Instruction seen as start of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, moved it to New Brunswick (1810) at Rev. Condit's invitation to share college campus
  • As president, college closed due to financial problems from 1816 to 1825, during this time he raised funds and support to reopen the school.

Presidents of Rutgers College (1825–1924)[edit]

# Portrait College President Years in office Education[2][3] Career and notes[2][3]
5 Phillip Milledoler daguerrotype.jpg Philip Milledoler
  • A German Reformed minister in New York, he aided the establishment of the Princeton Theological Seminary, American Bible Society, and United Foreign Missionary Society
  • Reorganized curriculum to a liberal arts model, including Greek, Latin, mathematics, philosophy, literature, political economy, and later lectures in geology, mineralogy and chemistry
  • Resigned after continued management and oversight disputes with Reformed Church
6 Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck.jpg Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck
  • A.B., Yale College (1810)
  • Career as an attorney, served one term in U.S. House of Representatives (1825–27)
  • While president, taught Rhetoric, Constitutional Law, and Political Economy, and expanded instruction in modern languages and sciences.
  • Estabalished more independence for the college from the Reformed Church
7 Theodore Frelinghuysen - Brady-Handy.jpg Theodore Frelinghuysen
  • A.B., College of New Jersey[c] (Princeton) (1804)
8 William Henry Campbell Rutgers Portrait.jpg William Henry Campbell
  • Itinerant preacher and teacher, taught at New Brunswick Theological Seminary as Professor of Oriental Languages, and at Rutgers as Professor of "Belles Lettres"; principal at Albany Academy (1848–62)
  • As president, Rutgers became the state's land grant college (1864)—expanding science, engineering, agriculture, and military education
  • College built Daniel S. Schanck Observatory, Geology Hall, Kirkpatrick Chapel (which also housed the college's library)
  • Rutgers students started The Daily Targum (1869), Rutgers University Glee Club (1872), and won the first intercollegiate football game against Princeton (1869)
9 Merrill Edwards Gates.jpg Merrill Edwards Gates
10 AustinScott1.jpg Austin Scott
  • Assisted historian and diplomat George Bancroft, in preparing tenth volume of History of the United States, and later History of the Constitution of the United States; delivered diplomatic dispatches to Washington DC from Kaiser William I.
  • Taught German at University of Michigan (1873–75), and history at Johns Hopkins University (1875–82), appointed Professor of History, Political Economy, and Constitutional Law at Rutgers (1883–91, 1906–22)
  • As president, built the Ballantine Gymnasium, Voorhees Library, and other academic buildings
  • Elected mayor of New Brunswick (1912–15)
11 William H. S. Demarest detail NBTS faculty photo c1904.jpg William Henry Steele Demarest
  • Reformed Church minister (1888–1901), appointed Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government at New Brunswick Theological Seminary
  • As president, established New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College) in 1918; built dormitories and facilities for Engineering, Chemistry, Entomology, and Ceramics departments
  • Wrote History of Rutgers College (1924)
  • After resigning as Rutgers president, appointed president of New Brunswick Theological Seminary (1925–35)

Presidents of Rutgers University (1924–1945)[edit]

# Portrait College President Years in office Education[2][3] Career and notes[2][3]
12 Jno Martin Thomas.jpg John Martin Thomas
  • Pastor of Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church in East Orange, New Jersey (1893–1908); President of Middlebury College (1908–1921); President of the Pennsylvania State College (now a University) (1921–1925)
  • At Rutgers, expanded Economics and Business Administration program, added College of Pharmacy and Bureau of Biochemical and Bacteriology Research; resigned over despute with state government over conflicting half-private, half-public role of Rutgers
  • Later became vice president at National Life Insurance Company in Montpelier, Vermont; and president of Norwich University (1937–1944)[22]
13 Philip Milledoler Brett
  • An alumnus who was captain of the 1892 football team; became a corporate attorney and law firm partner in New York City, later a trustee for over 50 years
  • Appointed as acting president to restore faculty morale after ongoing dispute with new State Board of Regents (over conflicts in the university's half-private, half-public role); declined the faculty's request to accept a full appointment as president
14 Robert Clarkson Clothier
  • LL.B., Princeton University (1908)
  • Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, later manager of publishing and human resources companies; during World War I, commissioned a lieutenant colonel in United States Army, served as special representative for Secretary of War
  • Appointed as assistant headmaster and later headmaster of Haverford School, then dean at University of Pittsburgh (1929–1932)
  • Expanded Cook College campus, acquired the 256-acre "River Road Campus" (now Busch campus); during World War II, hosted Army Student training program; expanded college after the war by accommodating all qualified veterans with G.I. Bill; oversaw transition of Rutgers into New Jersey's state university, absorbed the campuses of University of Newark (now Rutgers–Newark) and College of South Jersey (now Rutgers–Camden)
  • Served as president of the New Jersey Constitutional Convention (1947) held in the College Avenue Gymnasium

Presidents of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (1945–present)[edit]

# Portrait College President Years in office Education[2][3] Career and notes[2][3]
14 Robert Clarkson Clothier
  • LL.B., Princeton University (1908)
See notes above
15 Lewis Webster Jones
16 Mason Welch Gross
  • A rower at Cambridge, served as Army Intelligence Corps officer in World War II, awarded Bronze Star
  • Taught as associate professor of Philosophy, became assistant dean of Arts and Science (1946–1949), and provost (1949–1959)
  • Brief career on television quiz shows, Think Fast and Two for the Money
  • Twelve-year tenure as president saw large-scale development and expansion, especially of Livingston College from the Army's former Camp Kilmer; during Vietnam War and Civil Rights era, turbulent student protests over the war, ROTC building burned, race riots in Newark, refused to dismiss pro-Viet Cong professor Eugene Genovese after free speech controversy; acquired Center for Alcohol Studies in 1962 from Yale; established a medical school
  • School for the Creative and Performing Arts at Rutgers was renamed in his honour as the Mason Gross School of the Arts in 1979
17 Edward J. Bloustein
  • Worked briefly as U.S. State Department political analyst specializing in Marxist theory and international political movements in the German Democratic Republic (DDR); then as law clerk to Judge Stanley H. Fuld of the New York State Court of Appeals (1959–1961)
  • Law professor at New York University School of Law (1961–1965); president of Bennington College (1965–1971)
  • At Rutgers, expanded research facilities, recruited and retained internationally known scholars to the faculty, raised profile as one of the major public research universities in the United States—led to an invitation to join the Association of American Universities
  • New Jersey's Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar recognizing the state's highest achieving graduating high school students, and Rutgers' Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy named in his honour
18 Francis Leo Lawrence
  • An author of several books on French classical drama, baroque poetry, and works of Molière, taught at Tulane for over 30 years as Professor of French and Italian Literature, held administrative posts as academic vice president, provost, and dean of the graduate school.
  • Through RUNet2000 Project, realized goal of fully wired campus, and using technology to transform teaching, research and outreach
  • Raised $600,000,000 in capital campaign
  • Built new academic facilities for Mason Gross School of the Arts, the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and the Rutgers-Newark Center for Law and Justice
  • Resigned from presidency in 2002, and returned to teaching as a University Professor.
19 Richard Levis McCormick
(born 1947)
  • Taught at Rutgers as Professor of History (1976–1992, including three years as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; vice chancellor and provost at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992–1995); President of the University of Washington (1995–2002)[24]
  • Launched $1 billion fundraising campaign; reorganized undergraduate education New Brunswick campus into School of Arts and Sciences and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; began statewide process to merge nearly all of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers; announced plans to redevelop Piscataway's Livingston Campus into a professional schools[25]
  • Resigned from presidency in 2012, and plans to return to Rutgers' history faculty as a University Professor[25]
20 Robert Lawrence Barchi
(born 1946)



  1. ^ The other colonial college—the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia—became a state institution by acts of the Virginia legislature in 1888 and 1906.[13]
  2. ^ This would be the Johannis Marckii Christianae Theologiae Medulla Didactico-Elenetica, an exegetic and pedagogic work on Dutch Reformed theology written by Johannes van Marck (1655–1731), professor of divinity at Leiden University (1689–1731), and revised by Willem van Irhoven (1698–1760), a professor of theology and later Rector of the University of Utrecht. First published in 1719 in Latin, the title can be rendered from Latin into English as "Johannes van Marck's The Inner Substance (or Pith or Marrow) of Christian Theology.
  3. ^ a b c Princeton University was chartered as the "College of New-Jersey" (Collegii Nova-Caesarea) in 1756. While early sources frequently refer to the school as "Princeton College" or the "College at Princeton", it was never an official name. The school became known as Princeton University when the trustees voted to change the name effective in 1896.


  1. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Leaders, Rutgers History: Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh - Queen’s College President, 1786 to 1790. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Frusciano, Thomas J. "Leadership on the Banks: Rutgers' Presidents, 1766–2004", in The Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries LIII(1) (June 1991).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Leaders, Rutgers History: Past Presidents. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  4. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Leaders, Rutgers History: William Henry Steele Demarest - Rutgers President, 1906 to 1924. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  5. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Leaders, Rutgers History: Philip M. Brett - Rutgers Acting President, 1930 to 1931. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Office of Media Relations. "Robert L. Barchi Named 20th President of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: Barchi to take helm of Rutgers on Sept. 1, after successful tenures as Thomas Jefferson University president, University of Pennsylvania provost" Archived May 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. (news release) in Rutgers Today (April 11, 2012). Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  7. ^ McGlone, Peggy. "Robert Barchi is named Rutgers University president" in The Star-Ledger (April 11, 2012). Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  8. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Office of the President. About President Barchi - Biography. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Governing Boards: Board of Trustees Membership Listing, 2013–2014 and Governing Boards: Board of Governors Membership Listing, 2013–2014. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. About Rutgers: Vision and Continuity - Leadership and Governance. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Stoeckel, Althea. "Presidents, professors, and politics: the colonial colleges and the American revolution", Conspectus of History (1976) 1(3):45–56.
  12. ^ Chapter XXIII. Education. § 13. Colonial Colleges in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907–1921; online edition, 2000).
  13. ^ Godson, Susan H.; Johnson, Ludwell H.; and Sherman, Richard B. The College of William and Mary: A History. (Williamsburg, Virginia: King and Queen Press, 1994), passim.
  14. ^ Demarest, David D. Centennial of the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in America, formerly the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, 1784–1884. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Board of Publication of the Reformed Church in America, 1885), passim; and Hageman, Howard G. Two Centuries Plus: The Story of the New Brunswick Seminary. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdsman Publishing Company, 1984), passim.
  15. ^ Centennial, Presbytery of Newton 1817–1917: an adjourned meeting, in the First Presbyterian Church, Washington, N.J.. (Easton, Pennsylvania: Easton Printing Company, 1917), 85.
  16. ^ Steele, Richard Holloway. Historical discourse delivered at the celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the First Reformed Dutch Church, New Brunswick, N.J., October 1, 1867. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Consistory, 1867), 87.
  17. ^ Pickersgill, Harold E.; Wall, John Patrick. History of Middlesex County, New Jersey: 1664–1920 (New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1921), 335–336.
  18. ^ Demarest, David D. Centennial of the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in America, formerly the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, 1784–1884. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Board of Publication of the Reformed Church in America, 1885), 83–91.
  19. ^ "Frelinghuysen, Theodore, (1787–1862), Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–present. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  20. ^ General Alumni Society of New York University. General Alumni Catalogue of New York University, 1833–1905: College, Applied Science, and Honorary Alumni. (Boston: Colonial Press, 1906), 200.
  21. ^ Eells, Robert J. Forgotten Saint: The Life of Theodore Frelinghuysen: A Case Study of Christian Leadership. (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1987), passim.
  22. ^ Norwich University Archives and Special Collections. John Martin Thomas Records, 1913–1946. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  23. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. The Brookings Institution, 1916–1952: Expertise and the Public Interest in a Democratic Society (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois Press, 1984), passim.
  24. ^ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. "About Richard L. McCormick: Curriculum vitae". Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  25. ^ a b Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. "About Richard L. McCormick: Biography". Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Office of Media Relations. "Robert L. Barchi Named 20th President of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: Barchi to take helm of Rutgers on Sept. 1, after successful tenures as Thomas Jefferson University president, University of Pennsylvania provost" (news release) in Rutgers Today (April 11, 2012). Retrieved August 26, 2013.

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