AC JosepH Media | Rutgers University-Camden By Mike Sepanic
Rutgers University–Camden Chancellor Phoebe A. Haddon, the first African-American woman to lead Rutgers University Camden, Monday announced that the 2019-2020 academic year will be her last as leader of the campus. She will return to the faculty as a law professor on July 1.
“Leading this institution has been – and remains – one of the defining honors of my life. Rutgers University–Camden is a place of optimism, creativity, and determination. I am forever grateful to be a member of this great community,” says Haddon, who was named Rutgers–Camden’s first African-American woman chancellor in 2014.
Haddon launched her tenure at Rutgers University–Camden by spearheading its first comprehensive strategic plan. During the plan’s five-year period, Rutgers–Camden set new enrollment records annually, in part through the introduction of its acclaimed Bridging the Gap tuition reduction program in 2015. The program has made great strides in reversing New Jersey’s “brain drain” of young people leaving the state to attend college by helping to make higher education more accessible for New Jersey families. The Rutgers–Camden program is the subject of a multiyear study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and has been replicated in some form by other higher education institutions nationwide.
Since Haddon accepted the role of chancellor in 2014, Rutgers University–Camden added high-demand graduate programs, including New Jersey’s first master’s program in forensic science, along with programs in nursing practice, business analytics, investments and private wealth management, and digital marketing. Undergraduate opportunities have expanded with the addition of such programs as digital studies, health studies, global studies, and a Spanish for the health professions certificate.
“It has been my great pleasure to serve alongside Chancellor Haddon since the day she joined the Rutgers–Camden community six years ago and to witness the inspiring leadership she has provided at a pivotal time,” says Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. “Championing excellence, access, and engagement, Phoebe Haddon has moved Rutgers University–Camden forward in vital ways, and we are a better and stronger institution because of her.”
James Dougherty, chair of the Rutgers University–Camden Board of Directors and chair of the Rutgers Board of Trustees, praises Haddon’s leadership. “Phoebe Haddon has led Rutgers University–Camden successfully through a period of unprecedented growth and change,” he says. “She has been an effective advocate for physical improvements to the campus, for the support of the faculty, and – most importantly – for making certain that Rutgers–Camden students are prepared to succeed. I will miss her leadership, and I am certain that the students will do likewise.”
Under Haddon’s direction, student success remained a top priority. Opportunities for students to engage in original research with Rutgers University–Camden’s research faculty were elevated, and a new Office of Scholar Development and Fellowship Advising was launched to help students secure national and international awards, including Fulbright fellowships. Haddon strengthened student support systems for undergraduate and graduate students in order to help them achieve their goals and their degrees.
During the past five years, the campus was transformed with the opening of the Nursing and Science Building, a $62.5 million state-of-the-art facility supported by the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Higher Education Restructuring Act of 2012. Rutgers University–Camden also debuted the first Alumni House on any Rutgers campus; the Writers House; and a building for the childhood studies program, which is home to the nation’s first Ph.D. program in this discipline. Under Haddon’s leadership, Rutgers–Camden continued to attract retail to the city, providing space for kite+key, Chase Bank, and Walgreens in its facilities.
Rutgers University–Camden’s global stature as a research university was enhanced when it was elevated to a new Carnegie classification as an R2 national research university in 2019. Carnegie also designated Rutgers–Camden as a national community-engaged university.
Rutgers University–Camden further solidified its reputation as an anchor institution for the City of Camden and southern New Jersey. The Rutgers–Camden civic engagement program had impressive growth in the number of students actively seeking opportunities to enroll in those courses that incorporate partnerships with community-based organizations into the curriculum. Among the many noteworthy initiatives launched by the institution to improve the quality of life for New Jersey families, Rutgers–Camden opened a health services center in Camden and is a lead partner in a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant to reclaim illegal dumping sites in Camden.
“Rutgers University–Camden is a superb university, and I can promise you that our momentum will continue,” says Haddon. “I am not winding down. There is a lot that we can accomplish on behalf of our students and our state this spring, and I intend to make certain that Rutgers–Camden continues to rise.”
Congressman Donald Norcross, who represents New Jersey’s First Congressional District, applauds Haddon’s service. “Chancellor Phoebe Haddon has not only dedicated herself to supporting the faculty and staff and enriching the lives of every student at Rutgers–Camden, but she has dedicated herself to the entire city, helping nurture the remarkable Camden Renaissance. Phoebe has been a transformative leader on campus, a fierce advocate in our community, and a valued friend, and I wish her the very best in her next endeavor,” says Norcross.
“Phoebe has done a remarkable job in raising the profile of Rutgers–Camden in the state, the Philadelphia region, and nationally. As the city of Camden continues to experience urban renewal, and campus growth explodes, Phoebe’s legacy as a phenomenal chancellor has made an indelible mark on this renaissance. Learning of her departure as chancellor is bittersweet. While I’m personally happy and excited for the next phase of her life, I will sorely miss her presence as a campus leader and terrific partner,” says Frank Hundley, a member of the Rutgers University–Camden Board of Directors and the Rutgers Board of Governors.
Biotech entrepreneur Sandy Stewart, former chair (and current member) of the Rutgers Board of Governors and the Rutgers University–Camden Board of Directors, offers similar sentiments. “As an alumnus of Rutgers–Camden, I will be forever grateful to Chancellor Haddon and the incredible legacy that she has built. Through her exceptional leadership and creative ideas, she and her team have transformed the campus into a highly ranked regional powerhouse with world-class faculty and innovative programs at a more affordable cost for many,” he says. “All of this helps keep the very best and brightest students in New Jersey. As a board member and donor, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work closely with Phoebe on many issues. It is an honor to refer to her as a true friend.”
“What Chancellor Haddon has done for Rutgers’ reputation in Camden and in South Jersey will live beyond her tenure. Her leadership has made a lasting impact on the entire university and it has been a pleasure to work with her,” says M. Wilma Harris, a member of the Rutgers Board of Trustees and a 1966 graduate of Douglass College at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
A constitutional law scholar and an expert on access and equity in higher education, Haddon currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. She is on the boards of the Cooper University Health System, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Camden Health & Athletic Association, The Philadelphia Contributionship, and HERS (Higher Education Resource Services), a national women’s leadership organization. She also serves on the executive committee of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU).
Haddon is the recipient of the 2019 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Law Schools and the 2019 Smith College Medal. In 2015, she received the Trailblazer’s Award from the New Jersey Women Lawyer’s Association, and was similarly honored by the National Association of Women Business Owners in South Jersey in 2016. In 2014, Haddon was an invited speaker at the 91st annual meeting of the American Law Institute, where other invited speakers included U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
NJBIZ named her among the “Top 50 in Higher Ed” in New Jersey in 2019, while Philadelphia Business Journal named her to its “Power 100” list for 2019 and the Philadelphia Inquirer selected her as a winner of its 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Pioneer Award.
Haddon earned an LL.M. from Yale Law School in 1985 and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Duquesne University School of Law in 1977. She received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Smith College in 1972.