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Rutgers-Camden chancellor to step down

Journal Staff Report | 9/11/2013, 3:36 p.m.
Wendell Pritchett, the chancellor at Rutgers University's Camden campus, said he's stepping down next year.
Wendell Pritchett

Wendell Pritchett, the chancellor at Rutgers University's Camden campus, said he's stepping down next year.

Pritchett has been chancellor at the school since 2009 and helped to keep the campus as part of the university. Pritchett, the university’s first black chancellor, announced his decision Tuesday.

Pritchett said he will join the school's faculty after stepping down June 30.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pritchett said he had long expected that his tenure as chancellor would last five or six years, on par with chancellors at other public universities.

The chancellor is the chief executive officer of the Rutgers–Camden campus, overseeing 1,100 employees and an annual budget of more than $60 million. Pritchett has direct responsibility for the daily administration of a campus that enrolls more than 6,700 students in 34 undergraduate programs and 28 graduate programs at the master’s and Ph.D. levels.

In a statement released to the campus community, Pritchett said, “It has been a great honor and pleasure to lead this campus and I look forward to continuing that privilege this year. I look forward to working with all of you to make Rutgers–Camden everything that it can and should be.”

In 2012, a plan endorsed by Gov. Chris Christie called for reallocating the campus from the state's flagship public university to Rowan University.

Pritchett and other spoke out against that part of the plan. Lawmakers ultimately agreed to keep the school in Rutgers.

In a statement released Tuesday, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said Pritchett “played a pivotal role in both strengthening the Camden campus and preserving its vital place within Rutgers.”

He added, “Chancellor Pritchett is a gifted and inspiring leader, and under his direction, Rutgers-Camden has expanded its student population and grown its superb faculty; established vibrant new academic programs, including a School of Nursing, which serves a growing demand in southern New Jersey; and made critical improvements to the campus infrastructure, including a new 350-bed residence hall that opened last year.

True to Wendell’s passion, Rutgers-Camden has become deeply involved in supporting the people of Camden and the surrounding region, establishing an Office for Civic Engagement that has helped to instill an ethic of civic engagement into the curriculum. He has been recognized by his peers for this work through his recent election as president of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.”

Pritchett also serves on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.

Barchi said there will be a national search for a new chancellor.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report