With merger plan unsettled, Rowan U. officials halt search for president

The possibility of a merger has left both Rowan University and Rutgers University—Camden anxiously waiting for a resolution.

Now Rowan officials say they’re temporarily abandoning the search for a new university president.

“The board is going to wait until some kind of decision is made. We need to have some kind of clarity if this is going to happen,” said Rowan spokesman Joe Cardona. “We may all find out two months from now, three months from now, that it doesn’t happen — or that it is happening.”

The school in Glassboro, N.J., began its presidential search last summer before merger talks really began. The recent uncertainties caused Rowan’s three top choices for the position to pull their names from consideration.

Cardona says that was understandable because there’s a major difference between being the president of a university with 10,000 students and one with — if the merger goes through — up to 20,000.

Despite the drawn-out hiring process, Cardona says that anything related to the possible merger is well worth moving slowly on.

“What’s being proposed here hasn’t been done in the country before … this is big,” he said. “If it does happen, it will serve as a model nationally. This is the direction higher-ed is moving into with the decrease of funding to state institutions. It’s inevitable that other institutions will merge.”

Rowan officials says current and potential students are in good hands for the foreseeable future with interim president Ali Houshmand.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who proposed the merger, wants a plan in place by July 1.

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