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University News

2017 Year in Review

Break out the confetti: From campus blockbusters to rising stars, a look back provides reason to celebrate

Posted in: University

Montclair State University female student, wearing graduation cap, blowing confetti.

It’s been a remarkable year. Montclair State University stepped out in 2017 with its own Hollywood moment, unveiling on the East Coast a broadcast facility featuring West Coast high-tech multimedia tools – and New York City views. As a rising star in science, Montclair State professors are collaborating with other research universities to answer the mysteries of space. Such new and exciting exploration led to Montclair State’s latest designation as a public research university by the State of New Jersey. The momentum shines across campus: business classes that inspire entrepreneurship and innovation, programs tackling the teaching and nursing shortages, the sharing of powerful ideas across all disciplines. The fall semester opened with Montclair State’s highest-ever total enrollment, exceeding 21,000 students. A commitment to engaging a creative and connected community is preparing these students for academic and professional success, and encouraging an ever higher level of scholarship and research. Here are some highlights that defined 2017.

Out of This World: Faculty Achievements

Two female Montclair State University students clad in lab coats in a lab.
Montclair State professors bring research and scholarship, funding and partnerships to the heart of University life. In January, President Barack Obama named Earth and Environmental Studies Professor Pankaj Lal as one of 102 researchers in the country deserving of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on federally funded science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. In a major breakthrough, physics faculty Rodica Martin and Marc Favata were part of the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration that detected in August the collision of neutron stars for the first time. It came just a month after Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation officially designating Montclair State a public research university, complementing the University’s national research doctoral classification in 2016 and the Graduate School’s 20th anniversary. University scholars are using drones to assess floodplains, advancing autism research and treatment, examining racial bias and charting paths for high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers, just a sampling of the discovery and insight at Montclair State. In July, following the conclusion of a two-and-a-half-year process of self-study and peer evaluation, Montclair State was fully reaccredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, confirming the educational quality of the University.

Tapping Potential: Every Student Counts

Students from the College of the Arts performing Twelfth Night on stage.
On Census Day, the 10th day of the fall semester, 21,013 students were counted, the University’s highest-ever enrollment with 16,852 undergraduate students and 4,161 graduate students. These included the first class of freshmen in the School of Nursing’s new, four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Montclair State is energizing the growth with incentives to attract new applicants and assure student success. For high school seniors now applying, the University is rewarding the best minds in New Jersey with a Presidential Scholars Program that provides scholarships, special programming and career supports. A Discovery Program for Undeclared Students is designed to guide incoming freshmen toward the selection of a major that meets their educational goals. The STEM Pioneer program launched in January aims to increase science literacy of undeclared, first-year, first-generation students and encourage them to pursue STEM majors. In August, Montclair State welcomed more than 200 high school juniors and seniors from across the United States and abroad to participate in the empowering Hispanic Student College Institute. For students with the next big idea, New Jersey’s largest collegiate pitch contest is happening right here with $80,000 in prizes. Fans of Red Hawk sports had reason to cheer student-athletes in 18 NCAA Division III varsity teams for men and women, with field hockey standout Kaitlyn Struss named an All-American. On the global sports arena, Montclair State was represented in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. On the ice, junior Isadora Williams trains for the Winter Olympics, where she will represent Brazil in figure skating.

Campus Transformation

Aerial shot of campus
Construction is transforming the Montclair State’s campus, the building boom creating interactive, modern spaces for science, business, nursing, graduate school and dance. A ribbon-cutting ceremony in September marked the official opening of the high-tech, multimedia facility for the School of Communication and Media, dubbed Hollywood East. In concert with electronic giant Sony, Montclair State is providing students with what industry leaders are calling the most technologically advanced media and production facility of any U.S. university. Work continues on renovations for College Hall for student services and Mallory Hall for computer sciences.

Heard (and Seen) on Campus

Trevor Noah speaking into a microphone
Politicians, journalists, dancers, comedians and a Nobel Prize-winner are among the high-profile visitors to campus who imparted words of wisdom to students on everything from dance to genetics. In September, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg demonstrated that she is as well-versed in Shakespeare as she is on constitutional law. Comedian Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, appeared on campus for the Montclair Literary Festival to talk about his memoir, Born A Crime. On Darwin Day in February, the University welcomed Princeton professor and Nobel laureate Eric Wieschaus. A conversation with Washington Post Executive Editor Martin “Marty” Baron focused on the challenges of covering the Trump administration. The University’s Peak Performances devoted its fall 2017 arts season to new works by women. At commencement exercises, dignitaries receiving honorary degrees included the Honorable Ras J. Baraka, Mayor of Newark; Savion Glover, the celebrated tap dancer, choreographer and teacher; and Carlos Rodriguez, the president and CEO of ADP. On the lighter side of college life, the beloved mascot, Rocky the Red Hawk, celebrated his Sweet 16.
Rocky the Red Hawk standing in the middle of Times Square