Rowan University

Coordinates: 39°42′39.30″N 75°07′06.38″W / 39.7109167°N 75.1184389°W / 39.7109167; -75.1184389
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Rowan University
Rowan University seal.svg
Former names
Glassboro Normal School (1923–1937)
New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro (1937–1958)
Glassboro State College (1958–1992)
Rowan College of New Jersey (1992–1997)[1]
Eruditio spes mundi (Latin)
Motto in English
"Education, hope of the world"
TypePublic research university[2]
EstablishedSeptember 24, 1923; 99 years ago (September 24, 1923)[3]
Academic affiliations
Sea-grant · Space-grant
Endowment$240.0 million (2020)[4]
Budget$519 million
PresidentAli A. Houshmand
ProvostAnthony Lowman
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Studentsnearly 23,000[6]
Location, ,
United States

39°42′39.30″N 75°07′06.38″W / 39.7109167°N 75.1184389°W / 39.7109167; -75.1184389
CampusLarge suburb, 800 acres (320 ha)
Other campuses
NewspaperThe Whit
ColorsBrown and gold[7]
NicknameProfs (Professorial Owls - a nod to the University's founding)
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III - NJAC
MascotWhoo RU the Prof[8]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
Rowan University logo.svg

Rowan University is a public research university in Glassboro, New Jersey, with a medical campus in Stratford and medical and academic campuses in Camden. It was founded in 1923 as Glassboro Normal School on a 25-acre (10 ha) site donated by 107 residents.[9]

The university includes 14 colleges and schools[5] with a total enrollment (undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies) of just over 19,600 students.[5] Rowan offers 85 bachelor's, 46 master's degrees, six doctoral degrees, and two professional degrees.[10] It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[11]


Bunce Hall, built in 1923, is the school's original academic building

In the early part of the 20th century, there was a shortage of adequately trained teachers in the state of New Jersey. It was decided to build a two-year Normal school in the southern part of the state to counter the trend. Among the candidate towns, Glassboro became the location due in no small part to its easy access to passenger rail as well as its offer to donate 25 acres (0.039 square miles) of land to the state to build the Normal school. The 1917 purchase price of the property was raised by the residents of the town ($7,000 at the time) and used to purchase a tract that belonged to the Whitney family, who owned the local glassworks during the 19th century.[12]

In 1923 the Glassboro Normal School opened with a class of 236 students, 226 women and 10 men, arriving at the train station in front of Bunce Hall. With the evolution of teacher training, the school became a four-year program in 1934; in 1937, the school was renamed The New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro and became co-educational shortly thereafter.

The college was one of the first in the country to begin programs for teachers for reading disabilities and physical therapy in 1935 and 1944, respectively. Glassboro State began to develop a reputation as a leader in special education. After several years and the return of soldiers from World War II, the college was able to expand its enrollment from a wartime low of 170 in 1943 to an expansion of several additional campus and academic programs over the next 15 years and became Glassboro State College in 1958.[13]

Hollybush Summit[edit]

Hollybush Mansion, site of the Glassboro Summit Conference

The Cold War Glassboro Summit Conference between U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin took place from June 23–25, 1967, in Hollybush Mansion on the campus of then-Glassboro State College. The college was chosen because of its location equidistant between New York City, where Kosygin was making a speech at the U.N., and Washington, D.C.[14]

Then-college president Dr. Thomas E. Robinson was given just 16 hours' notice of the decision to hold the summit at GSC[15] and, despite the lack of advance notice, converted his on-campus home into a secure location for the leaders of the world's superpowers.[16]

After the summit[edit]

The campus was relatively quiet during the following decade. However, it hosted hard rock band Black Sabbath's first U.S. concert on October 30, 1970.[17] Peaceful student protests occurred during the Vietnam war as they did at other campuses, but never required the college to close the campus.[18]

The college made national news following an annual event, Spring Weekend, in 1986, due to a loud party atmosphere primarily off campus around the Beau Rivage townhouses and The Crossings apartment complex in which police from several municipalities were called in to break up the parties. The event led to Glassboro State College's ranking as the #28 Party School in the nation in the January 1987 issue of Playboy magazine.[19] Coincidentally, in the Greek section of that same issue of Playboy, the Epsilon Eta chapter of Zeta Beta Tau, was also named one of the Animal House Contenders.[20]

Though the alcohol-fueled Spring Weekend was canceled by then-President Herman James, a non-alcoholic version continued for several years, Glassboro State College remained known for its hard-partying culture. However, in 1988, there began one of the biggest crackdowns in school history. As a result of the drinking death of freshman James Callahan at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Herman James decided to make GSC an example for the rest of the state colleges and universities to follow. He invited the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC) to the school. He began shutting down off-campus parties and placing undercover agents in the local liquor establishments. This prompted Morton Downey Jr., who was based in Secaucus, New Jersey, and very popular at the time, to do an untelevised show focusing on the drinking age and the classic argument that an eighteen-year-old can go off to war and die for their country although they cannot legally buy and consume beer. The following year, the ABC did not return, and the partying atmosphere that Glassboro State College was known for returned in earnest and continued into the 1990s and early 2000s.[citation needed]

University status[edit]

In 1992, president Dr. Herman James oversaw the development of Glassboro State College into what would eventually become Rowan University. This transformation came about because of what was then the largest single gift to a public college or University in history. Industrialist Henry M. Rowan, Jr., a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology class of 1947, and his wife donated $100 million to the college, which later changed its name to Rowan College of New Jersey in his honor. The gift stipulated that the college open a College of Engineering, allowing the college to expand its course and curriculum offerings to the point that it became a full-fledged university, achieving that status in 1997. This status was given by the State of New Jersey based on Rowan University's doctoral degree program, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, and the numerous master's-level programs in education and business.[21]

Following Dr. James' retirement as president in 1998, Dr. Donald Farish was chosen to succeed him and began further expansion on the Glassboro campus, opening a modern Science Hall in 2003 and a building to house the College of Education in 2005. In addition, acquisitions during the beginning of Farish's tenure as president led to the development of a tract of land bordering US Route 322 and State Route 55 as the West Campus.[21]

The presidency of Donald J. Farish was noted for a continued crackdown on the university's partying culture, which declined alongside a rise in SAT scores and class rank among the incoming freshman classes. The crackdown on the partying culture began in earnest in 2002 with the official banning of kegs for use by Greek letter organizations.[22] In 2006, two Rowan University students were found guilty for serving alcohol to minors at an off-campus party that resulted in the death of a 16-year-old male. Rowan promised to follow up with its own penalties.[23]

West Campus[edit]

On March 20, 2006, President Farish announced a joint venture between the university and Major League Soccer (MLS) to construct a new athletic complex based around a 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium on property owned by the campus at the intersection of U.S. Route 322 and Route 55. Although the stadium was planned to be complete for the start of the 2009 MLS season, New Jersey's 2006 budget problems resulted in cutbacks in funding for the infrastructure upgrades required by increased traffic related to an MLS team. When plan fell through, the stadium project was relocated to nearby Chester, Pennsylvania where the MLS's Philadelphia Union now play their home matches.[24]

The northern portion of the West Campus expansion currently contains the South Jersey Technology Park as well as room for future expansion; the southern portion of the West Campus expansion will accommodate both academic and athletic facilities. The university in 2015 opened a 17.5-acre (7.1 ha) site across from the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University with practice fields for football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse.[25] Transportation between the two campuses will be provided with both shuttle service and improved bike paths, as well as improvements to Route 322 itself.[26]

On a vast site, adjacent to the West Campus athletic fields, the Inspira Medical Center complex opened in late 2019.

South Jersey Technology Park[edit]

Rowan University broke ground for the South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP) on April 10, 2006. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) gave Rowan University $5.8 million to combine with $1.5 million from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, $1 million from Samuel H. Jones, and $1 million from Rowan itself.[27] SJTP is planned to be a 188 acres (76 ha) site which will serve as an establishment for science and technology companies as well as academics. It is planned to have 25 buildings to provide competitively priced Class "A" facilities for budding entrepreneurs, start-up and established companies. SJTP was incorporated as a non-profit corporation with its own board of directors.[28] The first building, the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center, has been leased completely out, and the revenue will help build a second building.[29]

The Tech Park's first incubated business, SocialReach, has successfully graduated into its own offices in Philadelphia.[30]

The second planned building will be approximately 66,000 square feet (6,100 m2) divided between research and technology labs and offices.[26]

Campus crimes[edit]

On August 12, 1996, 22-year-old Cindy Nannay was fatally shot outside Bozorth Hall by her estranged boyfriend, who then killed himself. Nannay was so afraid of Scott Lonabaugh, 27, that when he arrived on the campus to see her, she asked friends to accompany her to the parking lot, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's office said. As her friends looked on, Mr. Lonabaugh shot Ms. Nannay twice with a shotgun and then shot himself in the head, prosecutors said. Both died at the scene.[31]

Eleven years later, in 2007, another student was murdered on campus. Sophomore Donald Farrell, 19, was robbed and beaten to death by unknown assailants while walking behind the Triad dormitory.[32] A reward of $100,000 has been offered for information leading to the capture, arrest and conviction of the assailants.[33] In an effort to find Farrell's assailants, television stations in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City aired reports on the murder, and America's Most Wanted twice featured segments on the incident.[34]

Following Farrell's murder a new campus security initiative was undertaken, starting with a 14-point plan proposed by President Farish. The plan included hiring additional security staff, adding more fully trained police officers, starting a student patrol program, an expansion of the Safe Walk and Ride program, improving lighting in and around campus, installation of CCTV cameras, and changing security and police coverage from an 8-hour to a 12-hour shift.[35]

Cooper Medical School[edit]

It was announced on June 26, 2009, that Rowan would be partnering with Cooper University Hospital to create a new four-year medical school to reside on Broadway in Camden. Rowan was chosen by governor Jon Corzine to house the new medical school primarily because the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) was not in a financial position to fund the creation of the school, for which Rowan issued $100 million in bonds.[36]

The new school would require no new funding as $28 million would be diverted from UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, which will no longer be associated with Cooper University Hospital after the opening of Cooper Medical School. Opening in 2012 with an entering class of 50,[37] Cooper Medical School of Rowan University was the only medical school in the state not affiliated with UMDNJ before their closing.[38] It was the first new medical school in New Jersey in at least 30 years.[37]

The Cooper Medical School of Rowan University was granted preliminary accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education on June 10, 2011.[39]

Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act[edit]

In January 2012, a state advisory committee proposed a plan[40] to merge Rowan with the Camden campus of Rutgers University (which would have been separated from Rutgers) under Rowan's name.[41] The project was opposed by the Rutgers governing boards, faculty, students, and alumni, and by others in the state.[42][43][44] Legislation passed in June 2012 rejected the idea of a merger, though it did include provisions for a loose collaboration between Rowan and Rutgers-Camden limited to research and teaching in the health sciences.[45] This legislation, the "New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act" (A3102 & S2063), enacted several essential changes to Rowan:

  • Rowan University was granted Research University status and was granted increased state funding.[45]
  • Rowan University acquired the University of Medicine and Dentistry's (UMDNJ) Stratford-based School of Osteopathic Medicine. Rowan joined Michigan State University as the only institutions in the country to operate both a DO and an MD medical school. The acquisition also included the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS).[45]
  • A joint Rowan/Rutgers-Camden governing board was created to oversee the development and operation of collaborative programs in the health sciences.[45][46]

Student deaths and mental health support[edit]

The university faced criticism for not providing more mental health resources and support for students after four students committed suicide between 2019 and 2021.[47][48] Following the student deaths in 2019, the university expanded its resources better accommodate students' mental health, including bringing the number of counselors employed to 17 and partnering with TogetherAll, a 24/7 mental health support network.[49][50] Additionally, the university received a $3 million grant in 2019 to start The Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program after their success with bringing in local therapy dogs to help students with anxiety and stress.[51]


Business Hall, home of the Rohrer College of Business
Robinson Hall
Campbell Library

The university is currently divided into eighteen colleges and schools.[52]

  • Rohrer College of Business
  • Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts
  • College of Education
  • Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering
  • John H. Martinson Honors College
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • College of Performing Arts
  • College of Science and Mathematics
  • School of Earth and Environment
  • Global Learning and Partnerships
  • Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
  • Virtua Health College of Medical and Life Sciences
  • Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine
  • School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Admissions and enrollment[edit]

Enrollment at Rowan from the fall semester of 2017 shows 15,401 undergraduates and 2,045 graduate students from 38 states and 34 countries. The overall admission rate is 53.0%. Undergraduates submitting statistics for a data set in 2017 had scores of 530 at the 25th percentile and 630 at the 75th percentile in SAT critical reading and 510 at the 25th percentile and 620 at the 75th percentile for SAT Math. As of the fall of 2016, the average accepted GPA was 3.46.[53]


Academic rankings
THE / WSJ[55]355
U.S. News & World Report[56]187
Washington Monthly[57]163
U.S. News & World Report[59]1420
The Engineering Hall

Social Mobility Index rankings[edit]

Rowan was ranked the #2 school in the United States by the Social Mobility Index college rankings.[61]

U.S. News rankings[edit]


Best Colleges Rankings (2020):

  • National Universities: 166 (tie);
  • Top Public Schools (National): 78 (tie);
  • Undergraduate Engineering Programs (where a doctorate is not offered): 21 (tie).
  • Undergraduate Electrical Engineering (where a doctorate is not offered): 15 (tie)

Best Grad School Rankings (2019):

  • Medical: Primary Care 91–120;
  • Education: 195–258;
  • Nursing (Masters): 176 (tie).

Top Online Programs Rankings (2019):

  • Graduate Engineering Programs 72–94;
  • MBA Programs 131 (tie);
  • Graduate Education Programs 186 (tie);
  • Bachelor's Programs 264–348.


The field of Rowan University's Coach Richard Wackar Stadium.

Rowan University has 18 sports teams (8 men's and 10 women's).[63] The football, field hockey, and track & field teams compete at John Page Memorial Field at Coach Richard Wackar Stadium. The basketball, volleyball, and swimming & diving teams call Esbjornson Gymnasium home. Women's lacrosse and the men's and women's soccer teams play at the Rowan Soccer and Lacrosse Complex. The baseball and softball teams have their own, dedicated facilities on campus. Rowan's teams are known as the Profs (short for Professors, a nod to the university's 1923 opening as a school to train educators), and the mascot is named Whoo RU.[64] Rowan also has club teams for: archery, ballroom dance, baseball, men's and women's basketball, cheerleading, crew, cycling, dance, equestrian, esports, fencing, field hockey, fishing, golf, men's and women's ice hockey, karate, men's and women's lacrosse, mixed martial arts (MMA), outdoors, paintball, powerlifting, quidditch, racquetball, rock climbing, roller hockey, men's and women's rugby, skateboarding, ski and snowboarding, men's and women's soccer, softball, street hockey, swimming, table tennis, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, men's and women's volleyball, and wrestling.[65]

A Rowan Profs relay team at The Armory in 2015

A member of the NCAA in Division III, competing in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), the sports teams at Rowan University have had some success on a national level. The Profs football team is regularly a contender for the national title, having gone to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl five times (1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1993) and the national semifinals in 1992, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2005. The women's field hockey team won the national championship in 2002 and had a perfect season of 21 wins and no losses. The men's basketball team has made the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament 12 times, winning the national title in 1996. The men's soccer team has made the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament 24 times, resulting in seven trips to the national semifinals. Rowan men's soccer has won national titles in both 1981 and 1990, finished second in 1979 and 2000, and third in 1980, 1985 and 1998. The baseball team has won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 1978 and 1979, while making appearances in the NCAA Division III World Series in 2004, 2005, and 2021. Rowan hosted the Division III National Championship Tournament Final Four for men's soccer in 2000, women's lacrosse in 2002, and field hockey in 2022.[64]

Student life[edit]

Student Center[edit]

The Chamberlain Student Center cafeteria
Students and faculty gather in the Student Center pit for the 9th annual Days of Giving event in 2023, with music provided by Rowan Radio

The Chamberlain Student Center is the main location for dining on campus. Dining options include the Owl's Nest restaurant, Peet's Coffee, Grill Nation, Jersey Mike's Subs, Freshens, Sono, Crust, Chef Jet, Smoked, Breakfast & Co., Bowl Life, Pop Up, and the Marketplace convenience store. The Student Center is also home to the Student Government Association, Conference and Event Services, the Greek Affairs Office, Student Activities, the Mailroom, and the Information Desk. Students and staff also get their RowanCard ID here.[66]


Rowan University hosts the award-winning[67] Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM, which began in 1964 on a $6,000 budget.[68] Additionally, the Rowan Television Network (RTN) is a student-run closed-circuit television station that provides 24-hour content to the students of Rowan University. RTN currently consists of 11 student-produced television shows, various sports related programming, and coverage of topical events occurring on campus.[69]

The Whit has served as the campus newspaper since 1938, covering school news, student life, Rowan sports, and entertainment. It is published weekly throughout the school year except during exams.[70] Another mainstay campus publication is Avant, a student-led literary magazine that compiles undergraduate poetry, short stories, photos, and artwork in annual fall and spring issues.[71][72] Image is the annual Rowan yearbook.[73] Other campus publications include Halftone, an online magazine focusing on entertainment and pop culture,[74] and At My Whit's End, a zine published by the Writing Arts Club.[75][76] Venue was a long-running alternative, uncensored student publication focusing on campus opinions and humor, initially formed in 1968 with a heavy political focus. Changing its format over the years, Venue printed four issues a year up to 2011.[77][78][79]

Rowan Boulevard[edit]

Rowan Boulevard connects 322 to downtown Glassboro, forming a bustling urban area that fuses businesses, bookstores, restaurants, a primary care facility, academic buildings, and student housing.


Oak Hall

Rowan provides housing for over 6,500 students in 13 University owned housing complexes and 5 affiliated housing units.[80] Students have a choice between halls, apartments, or townhouses. Full-time, non-commuter students are required to live in on-campus until the completion of their sophomore year, and are thus guaranteed on-campus housing during this time. After this, students must enter into a housing lottery.[81]

With the university's continued growth, housing at Rowan's main Glassboro campus has reached capacity.[82] The university has moved to construct new housing aggressively.

The student-run Residence Hall Association represents students who live on-campus.[83]

There are seven freshman residence halls and five for upperclassmen. Starting in the fall of 2017, Rowan University offered apartment-style housing options in a public-private partnership with Nexus Properties.[84]

220 Rowan Blvd at night

Student organizations[edit]

The façade of Bunce Hall shows both the old and the new names of the school

There are more than 100 clubs and organizations at Rowan University; along with more than 30 Greek organizations on campus.



Other chartered clubs report to the Student Government Association including national award-winning programs such as the Rowan Television Network, the local PRSSA, the Rowan College Republicans, the Rowan Democratic Club, and The Student University Programmers (SUP). Cinema Workshop, the university's student film club, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2007.[86]


A statue of Henry Rowan in front of Savitz Hall overlooks Route 322

New Jersey Transit bus routes 313[87] and 412 serve the university.[88] U.S. Route 322 (Mullica Hill Road) bisects the campus. It is a planned stop on the Glassboro–Camden Line, a proposed 18-mile (28.97 km) diesel multiple unit (DMU) light rail system.[89][90]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • David Bianculli, television critic; teaches television and film history[118]
  • Marvin Creamer, geography professor and first person to circumnavigate the globe without any navigational instruments[119]
  • Neil Hartman, sports personality; director of Rowan's Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact. Known for sparking Allen Iverson's "practice" rant in 2002.[120]
  • Melissa Klapper, historian and storyteller[121]
  • Gordon Turk, virtuoso organist; faculty member since 2013.[122]

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
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