NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Rutgers President Robert Barchi hosted Friday’s dedication of the Rutgers University-New Brunswick Honors College.

The new facility, located on the university’s historic College Avenue Campus, is home to more than 500 high achieving students.

Building on a legacy of honors education at Rutgers, the Honors College redefines interdisciplinary learning by inviting first year students in the sciences, humanities, and Rutgers’ various professional schools to live and work together to examine global issues.

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“This new Honors College brings the University’s highest achieving students into one innovative community focused on intellectual curiosity and hands on, collaborative learning,” said Lt. Gov. Guadagno.  “By engaging students from all disciplines in workshops, fieldwork, mentorships, and more, the Honors College will help Rutgers continue to provide one of the best educational experiences in the nation.”

“The Honors College will provide an education for the 21st century and nurture the brilliance of these accomplished young people,” said Barchi. “It reaffirms that Rutgers should be the destination for the very brightest students from around the corner and around the world.

Faculty living in the residence areas will provide mentoring and programmatic support. The students, who are members of the Honors College throughout their four years at Rutgers, will have academic opportunities and challenges beyond the traditional curriculum and classroom experience.

“The Honors College is an outstanding choice for students seeking a small and highly competitive academic environment, while drawing on the superior resources of Rutgers University,” said Richard L. Edwards, chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “I applaud the work of the deans and faculty of the participating schools, and the Honors College Faculty Planning Committee, for bringing this extraordinary living learning community to reality.”

The average SAT score of the inaugural Honors College class is 2160, which ranks in the top 2 percent nationwide, compared to the New Jersey average of 1526 and the national average of 1497. Further, 90 percent of the incoming students were in the top ten percent of their high school graduating classes.

“We’ve created a curriculum where interdisciplinary problem solving is at our very core,” said Matt Matsuda, academic dean of the Honors College. “Students will collaborate in small project teams to tackle real world issues, while getting hands on experience in research and in the field from the very start of their college experience.”

“We have a community where intellectual curiosity, hands on knowledge, diversity, collaboration and giving back are central so that students can graduate with a strong resume ready to pursue a career with purpose,” said Paul Gilmore, administrative dean of the Honors College.

While the Honors College program is designed to attract students from around the country and the world,  “we were focused mainly on the top students from New Jersey who are among the 30,000 high school graduates who each year leave and go somewhere else,” said Edwards. “We want to keep that talent right here in our state and at our university.”

Honors College students have been accepted through the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, the School of Engineering, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, and the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

These schools have had really good honors programs at Rutgers University for over a generation.

“The Honors College is the first honors entity here in which we’re drawing on the students and the supported resources of all of these great schools together,” said Matsuda. “We really believe that because of the way the world is changing, students are going to have to have a very flexible education and be on project teams where instead of all students being from one major, there could be someone from engineering working with someone from fine arts or a business student working with an environmentalist.”

Dr. Jeffrey A. Robinson, who teaches courses in social entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School’s Management and Global Business department, hopes to be able to impact his undergraduate students with some of the smaller seminars and joint faculty work with the Honors College. “I do work on social innovation and entrepreneurship, and how do you use entrepreneurship to solve social problems, which is one of the college’s themes this year,” said Robinson.  

A key component of President Barchi’s strategic plan, the Honors College is part of the College Avenue Redevelopment Initiative, a collaboration with Rutgers, Devco, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), New Brunswick Theological Seminary and Rutgers Hillel.

The five-story, 170,000 square foot Honors College is built to LEED silver standards. It includes six seminar rooms, administrative and advising offices, three live-in faculty apartments, and student lounge and study areas throughout the building.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities, educating more than 67,000 students and serving people throughout New Jersey.

Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the only public institution in New Jersey represented in the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Rutgers is also a member of the Big Ten Conference and its academic counterpart, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of 15 world-class research universities.