In 2022, as COVID-19 restrictions eased and the world began to open up more, Montclair State University continued to provide a safe, high-quality, accessible education to its diverse student body of more than 21,000. Montclair forged new partnerships, opened an Office of Student Belonging, and in the fall, celebrated the investiture of its ninth president, Jonathan Koppell, as well as his vision of Montclair as a solutions engine. Here are some of the highlights from this past year.
Imagining a New Era
Montclair celebrated a rare and regalia-clad occasion: the investiture of Jonathan GS Koppell, the University’s ninth president in the institution’s 114-year history. Koppell shared his vision for a university making a difference in the world. He was joined this year by a new Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Junius Gonzales, the second-highest ranking officer at Montclair.
To promote further student success and respond to future workforce needs, Koppell announced the reconfiguration or creation of new colleges and schools, including the College for Education and Engaged Learning, the College for Community Health and the School of Computing, effective summer 2023.
The University ushered in a new era of partnerships with Bloomfield College. The historic merger of Montclair and Bloomfield College advances plans to create “Bloomfield College of Montclair State University,” a model for other institutions of higher learning. Montclair also is expanding its partnerships with Union College and Hudson County Community College.
Making a Difference in the World
The U.S. Department of Education featured the Red Hawks Rising Teacher Academy, recognizing Montclair’s collaboration with the Newark Board of Education and American Federation of Teachers, on its #InnovatED online series. Montclair also partnered with the Volcker Alliance to join the Next Generation Service Corps (aka NextGen Service), a national network of 11 higher education institutions committed to preparing undergraduate students for public service. In December, the University announced a $5 million gift from alumnus Chuck Muth ’77 and wife, Laura, to help Montclair make a difference in Paterson. The first educational project will be the creation and operation of a museum and learning center at the historic Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the last remaining Negro League stadiums in the country.
Forward Thinking Research
A dynamic research institution, Montclair continued making news with some groundbreaking research. Among some of the highlights: One of the first and largest studies to document the psychological, academic and economic impact of COVID-19 on college students; studies revealing the increased use of hate speech terms on Twitter, including the use of ‘groomer’ after the Colorado Springs nightclub shooting.
University faculty also earned more grants to continue research, including $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation and the New Jersey Department of Education for Computer Science and Education faculty to create support programs and opportunities for teachers to increase computer science offerings in elementary education.
Montclair’s Stars Shine Bright
Pro Football Hall of Famer Sam Mills, Montclair’s greatest football player, was a 5’9” linebacker thought to be too small to go pro. His outsize work ethic proved the naysayers wrong. Mills was posthumously enshrined to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August and was honored on Sprague Field at Homecoming.
In March, Montclair’s musicians performed on the stage of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Montclair made its Amazon Prime streaming debut on Season 4 of The College Tour last spring.
In May, graduates of Montclair’s Nursing program experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: a special, live pinning ceremony on NBC’s The Today Show.
Brilliance Beyond Borders
Montclair fosters a worldview among students that stretches far beyond campus. In April, students, faculty and staff showed support for citizens in Ukraine, and the University became a place of refuge for scholars. University professors and students explored new possibilities, including the Wind Symphony performing in Prague and students across disciplines creating and performing multimedia projects in Dundee, Scotland. Meanwhile, journalism students covered the topics of race and social justice in New Orleans and communication and media students experienced the ‘The Opportunity of a Lifetime’ covering Sam Mills’ induction into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Among other subjects that sent students traveling were the geology of Wyoming and Montana, biology and genetics in Japan and special education programs in Helsinki.
Life’s Big Moments
Montclair celebrated Commencement with an eye toward making the world a better place. “We are counting on you to continue with the energy, resourcefulness and commitment you have demonstrated today,” Koppell told graduates.
Among those who graduated in this year was a woman who 22 years ago was almost born in Bohn Hall. Diana Sisk-Gritz’s mother went into a surprise labor in the residence hall – not even knowing she was pregnant. During Convocation, Sisk-Gritz and her boyfriend, Tyler Frantino, also Class of 2022, became engaged.
Theirs wasn’t the only graduation engagement. Public Health graduate Kathy Fevrius said “Yes,” in front of a cheering crowd of graduates, during a surprise proposal at the College of Education and Human Services Convocation. The proposal made headlines and went viral on social media.
Milestones and Memories
The University welcomed the largest incoming class and enrollment in the school’s history, pushing its total enrollment to 21,671. An Hispanic-Serving Institution, Montclair has become a destination school for diverse and first-generation students, with 41% of the incoming class identifying as Hispanic or Latino. It also became a Fulbright HSI Leader for the second year in a row for helping students and faculty benefit from a variety of on-campus Fulbright initiatives.
In creating a campus of belonging for all students, the University celebrated its history, its present and its future. October and November were festive as the University celebrated Indigenous People’s Day by unveiling a new Native American and Indigenous Studies minor and its formal Land Acknowledgement, Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, National First-Generation College Celebration Day, the contributions and sacrifices of military-affiliated students and Transgender Awareness Week.
There were also the traditional celebrations and rites of passage, from summer Early College Programs and moving back into residence halls to Homecoming and Rocky’s birthday. Montclair made sure that students felt the love by sponsoring more than 50 events during its first Student Appreciation Week. And all that makes Montclair special was summed up beautifully in Red Chair Stories, a new Admissions video about the University’s academics, value and sense of belonging.