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How Rutgers joined the AAU

In doing some research for today's post, I came across this 1989 NY Times article, which reads as jaw-dropping in retrospect. ''He hated the syndrome of being willing to settle for second best,'' said Donald B. Edwards, Rutgers' vice president for development and public affairs. ''He felt New Jersey and Rutgers were shortchanging themselves in terms of ambition.'' R.I.P. Edward Bloustein, the best president Rutgers University ever had, for dragging the school kicking and screaming into the Twentieth Century. It's because of his efforts in working closely with the administration of Gov. Tom Kean to ensure vital funding that transformed Rutgers into a top rate research institution. Bloustein spearheaded the building up of the Busch campus. Under his administration test scores for incoming freshmen rose up dramatically, and the school finally gained entrance into the prestigious A.A.U. in 1989. What's important to note is that Bloustein envisioned a holistic university excelling in all aspects. He wanted first rate academics to go along with successful athletics. Another important point mentioned in the article is that every accomplishment was accompanied by a corresponding fight. Tuition rose dramatically. The football program started playing a Division I-A caliber schedule. Bloustein transformed Rutgers into an academic research powerhouse, directly took aim at faculty bureaucracy with the controversial 1980 merger of individual campus faculties. Many of these topics continue to resonate today, so this piece comes off as especially enlightening in that respect. The late 80's represented a golden age for Rutgers University. Therefore, the challenge now becomes to secure the necessary funding required to recapture that spirit, reinvigorating the university's will towards success.

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