Editorial: The final Whit of the decade

Rowan University's back patio - Editor-in-Chief / Miguel Martinez

The Whit has been a fixture of Rowan University since 1938. Since then, it has been our mission to keep the university informed every step of the way. From the humble beginnings of Glassboro State College to the transformative donations of Henry Rowan, the Whit has cleared through the noise and delivered news on all the most pressing issues within our community.

This past decade has been no different.

Rowan University has undergone massive changes over the last decade. Between 2010 and 2019, university enrollment has sky-rocketed from an undergraduate enrollment of 11,300 to 16,120. This 70% increase in enrollment positioned Rowan as one of the fastest-growing universities in the country, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

With the increased enrollment, the institution broke ground on new housing projects to match the need for housing. President Ali Houshmand spearheaded the growth project, unveiling his ambitious plans soon after becoming the seventh president in university history in 2012. Those plans came to fruition with the completion of 220 Rowan Boulevard in 2015, Holly Pointe Commons in 2016, and the opening of new dormitories on Victoria and High Streets in 2017. Additional housing on Victoria and Main Streets were unveiled the following year.

Generous alumni Jean and Ric Edelman donated to the university several times throughout the past decade, following their 2002 $1 million donation to the Edelman Planetarium in Science Hall. In 2016, they made a $25 million donation to the site now known as the Edelman Fossil Park for paleontology research, and this year made a $10 million endowment to the College of Communication and Creative Arts. Both gifts will revolutionize Rowan for generations to come.

However, the burgeoning university was not without its struggles over the past decade. The lead scare of 2016 left students and local officials wary of the water supply when lead levels were found to be above Environment Protection Agency regulations. In the fall of 2018, a traffic stop in a parking lot near Esbjornson Gymnasium blew into a national story, where two Rowan students mistaken for suspects in a shoplifting investigation were detained by officers armed with assault rifles. The sports bra scandal uncovered in 2018 rocked the athletic department, leading to a massive title IX investigation and resulted in the dismissal of the then-athletic director.

During all the major moments of the decade, the Whit has been there.

We’ve covered local news, student events, politics and national controversies. Just as importantly, we’ve covered stories which have mattered to Rowan students on intersections of housing, education and identity.

As the university continues to grow, these issues will remain at the forefront of our mission to represent the needs of the student body, today and beyond.