Ranking high among the good news of the past year was the attainment of an important milestone for the University. The remedial progress made by UMDNJ enabled the United States Attorney and the Federal Monitor to end the monitorship of this institution as of December 31, 2007. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Board and its committees and the faculty, staff and administrative leadership of the University, full responsibility for the governance of this institution was restored to the Board of Trustees. Thereafter, generated by the same hard work and dedication, the University’s accreditation was restored by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The Monitor’s final report noted that “…UMDNJ is a much-changed institution. The changes at UMDNJ—though still in progress in many respects—are noteworthy. From the top down, UMDNJ has undergone major personnel, policy and cultural changes.”
Much of this significant remedial and forward progress can be attributed to the commitment of UMDNJ’s Board. We welcomed one new member this year, Mary Sue Henifin, JD, MPH, an attorney with expertise in environmental and public health law. She joined a Board whose dedication to the University was a critical foundation for the re-positioning of this University and the re-establishing of our credibility among our various stakeholders. We also welcomed ex-officio member Heather Howard, the new Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
The Board and the University owe special debts of gratitude to Anthony Terracciano, who left in January to assume the important post of chairman of Sallie Mae and to Dr. Fred Jacobs, former Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, who left the Board in December 2007 and now serves as executive vice president and director of the Quality Institute for the Saint Barnabas Health Care System. Mr. Terracciano served UMDNJ with distinction and brought to the Board extraordinary business, financial and leadership skills. Dr. Jacobs brought to the Board energy, sound judgment and medical expertise, and also chaired the Ad Hoc Committee which was constituted to review the cardiology program at University Hospital.
The achievement of our goals is also a tribute to the partnership between the Board and UMDNJ’s senior leadership. In fact, the Monitor’s report characterized our new President, William F. Owen, Jr., MD, as a “strong, determined leader committed to continue the changes that have begun in the past two years.” The Board heartily echoes these sentiments.
The Board and the University’s administrative leadership have worked diligently this year not only to effect necessary reform and remediation but also to preserve the integrity of UMDNJ’s efforts to advance our mission to serve New Jersey and its citizens. We know that our work is far from done, but we are proud of the exceptional accomplishments, under far from ideal circumstances, of the past year.
Robert J. Del Tufo, Esq.
Chair, Board of Trustees