Each new academic year brings new milestones and causes for celebration – and this fall we celebrated Professor Jeffrey Alan Miller’s designation as a MacArthur “Genius,” or, more formally, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow. In this issue you will read about Professor Miller’s research and his discovery of the earliest version of the King James Bible. The accomplishments of our extraordinary faculty continue to amaze. I think of Professor Marc Favata, chair of the Physics Department, recipient of prestigious grants and recognition by the National Science Foundation and the Simons Foundation and part of the international LIGO collaboration (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory). Dr. Favata’s work is focused on the detection of gravitational waves, ripples in the curvature of spacetime created by the collisions of black holes and neutron stars. And Professor Laura Lakusta of the Psychology Department, also a recipient of NSF grants and this year’s Montclair State University Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Lakusta studies the interactions between language and cognition and how nature and nurture work together to drive human development.
And, of course, fall also brings a new class of graduate and undergraduate students, as well as new programs and facilities to enhance the student experience and ensure that our students receive a rigorous education and a diploma that will be a meaningful asset as they seek to realize their professional goals.
From its earliest days, Montclair State has differentiated itself as an institution intent on providing a comprehensive and rigorous higher education to a population of students that is, in every way, truly reflective of the diversity of the society we serve. We have always cared about student success, and we have always cared about creating a supportive environment for teaching and learning. With our new designation last spring as doctoral and research university, our deeper research engagement gives us yet another resource as we provide even better educational opportunities for our students and new avenues for successful completion of meaningful degrees.
When alumni return to visit, they are invariably impressed by how much the campus itself has grown, with numerous new buildings and programs and a student population of 21,000. One part of campus or another has been under construction for the last decade, and, as you’ll read in these pages, our new College Hall project recently connected us to our past when construction workers found a message in a bottle placed in a wall by workers during construction of the building in 1907. When what was then called Montclair Normal School was built, it represented the hopes and dreams of future teachers. There was no way those who built it or those who were its first students and teachers could have envisioned that the school would one day become the state’s second largest university, offering more than 300 programs of study.
When College Hall reopens next summer, it will once again be a symbol of hope for a new generation. We keep pushing forward, and we do it together, each of us contributing to the sum of the whole. We do it one teaching and learning experience at a time, one scientific discovery at a time, one student at a time, seizing each day to shape the future. We could not have gotten to this place without your generous support, and on behalf of our deserving students and faculty, I thank you.
Susan A. Cole