The College of New Jersey formally installed its 16th president, Kathryn A. Foster, in a tradition-filled ceremony this afternoon in the Student Recreation Center.
“You now have the privilege and responsibility of leading the college to the fulfillment of its great promise for years to come,” said Susanne Svizeny ’79, chair of TCNJ’s Board of Trustees. “May you preserve the wonderful sense of community that is The College of New Jersey, and continue to foster the realization that there is strength in diversity.”
“I cannot wait to plan with you, to explore where we have been, where we are, and where we are going,” said Foster to the more than 700 members of the TCNJ community, who joined her family, friends, and colleagues from across the academy for the occasion. “Here’s to three tenses at once, in our time, in this place, for tradition, for tomorrow, for TCNJ.”
She challenged the TCNJ community to consider what it wants to preserve from its past and draw upon from its present to create its ideal future, and said we are well-positioned to do this work.
“We bring personal connections and shared experiences, a tenacity to take on big projects that make a difference, an ethos that values engagement, ideas, and one another, and a character that is honest, motivated, considerate, and ambitious,” said Foster, a native of Verona, New Jersey, who was named TCNJ’s president on March 27, 2018 and officially began her tenure on July 1, 2018.
The ceremony featured greetings from the campus, local, state, and academic communities. Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet spoke on behalf of Governor Phil Murphy, Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith-Ellis, and the state of New Jersey.
“As a distinguished institution, TCNJ continues to break the mold and produce world renowned leaders,” said Repollet, a 1994 alumnus of the college. “With the inauguration of Kathryn Foster, I’m excited to see the amazing opportunities and experiences that the college will continue to offer its students.”
TCNJ Student Government President Brooke Chlebowski ’19 offered thanks to President Foster on behalf of the student body for energizing the campus community with her spirited presence and her willingness to engage with students of all years, majors, and backgrounds.
“The College of New Jersey is extremely fortunate to have a leader with the energy, intellect, compassion, and dedication that is exhibited through every obstacle and opportunity you have experienced,” said Chlebowski. “Welcome to our community of scholars, researchers, athletes, artists, performers, advocates, leaders, daydreamers, and lions. Welcome to blue and gold.”
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, who presented greetings on behalf of the academy, described the occasion as both a new beginning and a homecoming. He noted that Foster earned her doctorate at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs and that her award-winning dissertation was later published by Georgetown University Press.
“In Kate, TCNJ has found something truly special: a leader who exemplifies this institution’s values as an accomplished scholar, a dedicated teacher, and a tireless advocate for public education,” Eisgruber said.
The ceremony featured musical performances by the TCNJ Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Eric Laprade, the singing of the national anthem by Rachael Alyse Watson ’20, and the singing of the college’s alma mater by students Joseph Ahn ’19, Nicole Poccia ’19, Noah Possible ’20, and Marietta Racancoj ’19.
As a nod to Foster’s Jersey roots and passion for visiting the nation’s state capitol buildings, Svizeny presented Foster with a painting of the New Jersey Statehouse as a gift from the Board of Trustees. It was painted by Eleanor Voorhees, a Lambertville, New Jersey artist whose work has been featured in national publications as well as galleries and private collections throughout the region.
“It is our wish that this painting of the New Jersey Statehouse be a source of inspiration for you for many years to come,” she said.