Bloomfield College officially became part of Montclair State University on July 1, following a series of reviews by several authorities and the passage of enabling legislation.
As a result, Bloomfield’s important mission will continue, and its students will be able to complete their education without interruption while benefiting from Montclair’s lower tuition and fees and the support of the second largest public research university in New Jersey. Bloomfield is the only four-year institution in New Jersey that has been designated as a Predominantly Black Institution, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and a Minority Serving Institution.
The renamed “Bloomfield College of Montclair State University” will provide an affordable, high-quality liberal arts education in a supportive, personalized environment.
Montclair offered employment opportunities to nearly 90% of Bloomfield faculty and staff, most of whom will be continuing as members of the College community. President Marcheta P. Evans will continue to provide leadership as Chancellor of Bloomfield College of Montclair State University, and a key member of the University leadership team under Montclair president, Jonathan Koppell. In addition, Bloomfield’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Michael A. Palladino will serve in the capacity of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
“Today we exuberantly celebrate the result of tenacious dedication, cooperation and hard work by employees of our two strategically aligned institutions,” said Evans. “This merger ensures that our commitment to the academic and economic success of young people from traditionally underserved communities will not only continue but will be enhanced.”
“This is a transformative moment for our students, and generations of students to come,” said Koppell. “We want to thank Governor Murphy, Secretary Bridges and the many state legislators and local officials who support the merger, as well as the oversight bodies who share our commitment to ensuring student success and preserving Bloomfield’s important mission.”
The merger of Bloomfield into Montclair was approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the regional body that accredits colleges and universities at its June 21-22 meeting.
On June 30, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed enabling legislation sponsored by Senators M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Renee C. Burgess (D-28), as well as Assemblywomen Britnee N. Timberlake (D-34), Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29) and Mila Jasey (D-27). It is also co-sponsored by Senators Gordon M. Johnson (D-37) and Paul A. Sarlo (D-36), as well as Assemblywomen Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-15), Linda Carter (D-22), Shavonda Sumter (D-35) and Cleopatra Tucker (D-28), and Assemblymen John McKeon (D-27), Brandon Umba (R-8), Thomas Giblin (D-34) and Kevin J. Rooney (R-40).
“We are grateful to our elected officials for their support,” said Koppell. “They understood that it was vital for the State of New Jersey to continue the mission and legacy of Bloomfield College.”
The merger now enters the integration phase, during which a distinctive educational experience will be designed for the students of Bloomfield College of Montclair State University. Over the next academic year, the future of all academic programs will be considered. During that time, the College will continue to offer courses required for Bloomfield College students to complete their existing majors and programs, and will honor the majors of all currently enrolled students.
Bloomfield will also maintain its 13 NCAA Division II athletics programs and remain the Bears, for at least the next year, unless otherwise directed by the NCAA.
The merger process began in October 2021, when Bloomfield put out a call for an academic partner to help it avoid closing due to financial challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Montclair responded because its mission aligned well with Bloomfield’s mission of providing access to high-quality educational experiences to students from groups that are often marginalized, and it wanted to enable the historic college to remain a resource for the community.
In December 2021, the institutions signed an agreement formalizing their commitment to explore a strategic relationship. In October 2022, both Boards of Trustees approved an Agreement and Plan of Merger, advancing plans to create “Bloomfield College of Montclair State University.”
Now, Bloomfield’s mission will carry on and be further enhanced by the resources of a large, comprehensive public-serving research university with a growing national reputation.
“We believe being part of Montclair State University is overwhelmingly in the best long-term interest of current and future students, faculty, staff and our local communities here in Essex County and beyond,” said Evans.
“As we design a new and distinctive experience for Bloomfield College of Montclair State University, we will seek to create a new national model for how institutions can come together to better serve their communities,” said Koppell. “The future of higher education is collaboration, not competition, and we hope this will serve as an example of what is possible when institutions of all shapes and sizes work together.”
Both presidents expressed their appreciation to labor leaders for their support and partnership in making the merger happen, especially Donna Chiera, President of the American Federation of Teachers – NJ and Richard Wolfson, President of AFT Local 1904; Christina Molinari, Branch President, and John Polk, Secretary Treasurer, Communications Workers of America Local 1031 and Christian Estevez, New Jersey Legislative & Political Director, CWA District 1; Melvin Dwyer, Vice President of IFPTE Local 195; and the Bloomfield College AAUP Chapter led by Jim Murphy, President, and Dunja Trunk, Vice President.
“We are very pleased to welcome Bloomfield College into the Montclair State University family. This innovative partnership will bring the best of both institutions to more students, and ensure that generations of students will continue to have access to an excellent education in a supportive academic environment. It is a win for the State of New Jersey,” said Montclair State University Board of Trustees Chair Francis Cuss.
Vernon M. Endo, Board of Trustees Chair of Bloomfield College, affirmed the positive sentiments surrounding the merger. “Bloomfield College is a very special place, and I am pleased that its mission and legacy will continue as it joins a university that is equally committed to providing all students, especially those from traditionally underserved backgrounds, with access to high-quality educational experiences and a pathway to social and economic advancement,” he said.
News of the merger was also celebrated by New Jersey elected officials.
“For well over a century, both Montclair State University and Bloomfield College have played important roles in providing New Jersey students with a high-quality education,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This merger will allow an institution that has served countless individuals from a diverse array of backgrounds to continue offering a distinctive and transformative educational experience to its students. I commend and congratulate Montclair State University and Bloomfield College on the completion of their historic merger.”
“I am a firm believer that access to high quality education can change the trajectory and outcomes of everyone’s life. With the coming together of these two national leaders in driving social mobility for the students they serve, they stand as a beacon of hope, offering more than just an education but becoming a sanctuary where dreams take flight and futures are rewritten,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29). “This is history in the making, and I applaud the leadership of both institutions for working diligently together to ensure that the future and well-being of our next generation remain the north star to everything we do.”
“I want to congratulate Marcheta Evans and Jonathan Koppell for making this partnership a reality,” said Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake (D-34). “This is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to what creative leadership can accomplish. Now, generations of students who want to make a difference in the world will continue to have access to life-changing educational opportunities. The commitment to the missions of both institutions is incredible, and I commend Presidents Evans and Koppell for seeing this through for the betterment of our young people.”
“I congratulate and commend Presidents Marcheta Evans and Jonathan Koppell for reaching this incredible milestone,” said Assemblywoman and Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee Mila Jasey (D-27). “This is a tremendous moment for New Jersey and for higher education in our state, and I cannot wait to see how this innovative partnership evolves under their creative leadership.”
“I am proud to support this history-making moment for New Jersey,” said Senator Renee Burgess (D-28). “Congratulations to both institutions on reaching this incredible moment.”
“These two institutions with similar missions coming together in this manner is a wonderful way to continue Bloomfield’s important mission,” said Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-34). “I look forward to seeing these schools continue to serve diverse populations and make such a critical impact in New Jersey.”
“Access to higher education is critical for economic mobility and growth,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-15). “Congratulations to both Bloomfield College and Montclair State University on ensuring future generations of students will be able to pursue these types of opportunities.”
“Montclair State University and Bloomfield College completing this partnership ensures that future generations of students will have the opportunity to change their lives through education,” said Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney (R-40). “College is an experience that can transform a young person who makes that investment in themselves, so I am thrilled to see they’ll have this opportunity.”
“Congratulations to Bloomfield College and Montclair State University for preserving access to life-changing educational opportunities through this historic merger,” said Senator Gordon M. Johnson (D-37).
“Congratulations to both Bloomfield College and Montclair State University for completing this historic merger,” said Assemblyman Brandon Umba (R-8). “I am proud to support these schools coming together to create educational opportunities for our students.”
“I am so proud to support this tremendous achievement that will create incredible opportunities for generations of students to come,” said Assemblywoman Linda Carter (D-22). “Bloomfield College and Montclair State University coming together will preserve access to higher education for students from traditionally underrepresented communities, and the results will no doubt be incredible for our state.”
“Congratulations to both Montclair State University and Bloomfield College, as well as their leadership, for completing this incredible and historic merger,” said Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36).
“I could not be happier to support this historic moment,” said Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-27). “This successful merger will help generations of New Jersey residents obtain access to quality higher education for years to come.”