The proposal to merge Rutgers-Camden into Rowan University has fired up students and staff at both schools. The merger is also on the minds of alums, including Dr. George Hill, one will be inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni this weekend.
“I think that the merger is not in the best interested of the students who would want to go to Rutgers, the faculty, and most importantly the community in South Jersey,” said Hill. “I think the university can continue to contribute as Rutgers University.”Hill, a professor at Vanderbilt, and his brother, now a doctor in Florida, both attended Rutgers-Camden. He said for both brothers – sons of a postal clerk and a domestic worker – the college education helped them set their futures and they wanted to give back. So the twins gave the school $200,000 to open the Hill Family Center for College Access. Hill said the decision to give the money would not have been easy if the merger had already happened.”Part of giving was to help out the community and to give back to Rutgers University in South Jersey so if the University had changed and was no longer Rutgers, then a significant part of the purpose of giving would not have been there,” said Hill.Opponents of the merger worry it would dilute the schools’ distinctive missions and identities. Last fiscal year, Rutgers raised $87 million in alumni donations, including $2 million given by alums specifically for the Camden campus.