University President Susan A. Cole announced in September that this academic year, her 23rd at the helm of the state’s second largest university, will be her final year as president.
Her retirement takes effect July 1, 2021, or whenever after that date the next president can take over. Known as an energetic and engaged leader with an unflagging work ethic, Cole said she is leaving not because she accomplished everything she set out to do, but because “at some point, I just have to stop.”
The work of developing the University, she said, is never done. “The University is organic and ever changing and meant for the ages, not just the decades. And, as for me, if I stayed here for another 20 or so years, I would still never accomplish what I came to do, because my dreams and goals for the University keep growing with the University.”
Upon hearing the news, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, “The people of New Jersey owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Dr. Susan Cole for her extraordinary contributions to our state. She believes deeply in the power of higher education to transform lives and open doors of opportunity.”
Cole became Montclair State’s eighth, and first woman, president in 1998. During her tenure, the University’s enrollment grew from 12,000 to 21,000, and the University became one of New Jersey’s most successfully diverse institutions, while expanding its degree offerings, building 3 million square feet of academic and performance space and earning national recognition as a research university, as well as more than doubling its residential capacity to 5,200 beds and expanding its campus transportation and dining services. Look for more on the University’s transformation under Cole in the next issue of Montclair.