During his annual State of the College address on Wednesday, Ramapo College President Peter Mercer said that while some point to problems in higher education, Ramapo College continues to be an exception with its high ranking in a national survey, its committment to students with disablities and its continued progress in business education.
Mercer, celebrating his 10th year as the College’s president, opened the speech at Friends Hall by discussing Ramapo’s “external relationships” and his efforts to strengthen the resources available to both students and faculty during his time at Ramapo.
“Ramapo’s future in many respects now depends on building [external relationships] more intricately and more convincingly than we have in the past,” Mercer said.
Later in his address, Mercer elaborated on these external relationships by explaining the work that he is doing alongside state legislators, such as Senator Cory Booker, to increase public bus routes to the college from urban centers in the hopes of increasing diversity at the College. Mercer also introduced a new program designed to get students more acquainted with the New Jersey state government through a trip to the Statehouse open to college students. This semester, the first semester the program is running, a reported 25 students will be attending, according to Mercer.
This semester the College admitted the largest freshman class in its history. Mercer cited that average SAT scores for the entering freshmen class were 10 points higher, and there had been an increase in out-of-state enrollment.
Over the last year the college has received many recognitions and honors, including an increase of ranking to 28 by U.S. News & World Report. Ramapo College has also been designated as a “Public Ivy” institution and was recognized for its efforts in accommodating U.S. veterans with an overall ranking of eighth in the nation.
A big milestone for the Anisfield School of Business is the opening of a New Jersey small business development center, a resource available to faculty and students free of charge. The office helps small business owners and entrepreneurs in New Jersey.
“It is really important for us to celebrate our successes,” Mercer said. “I would say the development I am proudest of is the renovation of G-wing because it’s going to benefit scores of students.”
Mercer also mentioned the work of the College’s Office of Specialized Services and its commitment to making sure that students are given a chance to further their studies regardless of physical and mental health.
Overall concerns that were brought up during the question and answer portion of the address ranged from veteran affairs to the posting of announcements at the College. Faculty suggested a separate veterans' dorm and lounge, a fixture at many state institutions. Another issue brought up involved communication through fliers and postings throughout the College. Suggestions were made to set up kiosks that could be reserved for this form of communal communication.
With another school year starting and with the already vast improvements the college has undergone, the 2014-2015 school year has the potential to be one to remember for the Ramapo community.