With a healthy dose of nostalgia and a hint of defiance, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey began its long good-bye yesterday with its 28th — and probably last — University Day celebration.
Denise Rodgers, the university’s interim president, said UMDNJ’s name may be changing as its schools are broken up and taken over by Rutgers and Rowan universities. But the soul of the 6,000-student health sciences university lives on.
"For some of us, we will always be UMDNJ in our hearts. And that’s OK," Rodgers said in a speech on the Newark campus that left some in the audience in tears. "It is our work and commitment that defines us, not our names. I look forward to walking this journey with you over the course of this year."
UMDNJ will be dissolved July 1 under sweeping higher education reorganization legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie in August. Under the plan, Rutgers will take over most of UMDNJ, including its dental school, nursing school and medical schools in Newark and Piscataway. Rowan University in Glassboro will take over UMDNJ’s osteopathic medical school in Stratford.