Bob Ingle
Bob Ingle

TRENTON — George Norcross III has spent considerable time and political energy trying to balance resources between the northern and southern parts of the state. His advocacy of a plan to even the playing field in South Jersey’s education and research communities has earned him barbs on both sides of the political divide.

Gov. Chris Christie has endorsed a proposal under which Rowan University would take control of Rutgers-Camden, which includes a nationally recognized law school. Rowan has a respected engineering school and is opening a medical school that is allied with Cooper University Hospital in Camden. The chairman of Cooper’s board is Norcross.

Some critics of the proposed change talk about it in terms of patronage and turf battles and politics. In New Jersey, one has to expect that, but it goes a lot deeper.

Rutgers-Camden students and grads are mighty proud of the Rutgers name and do not want their school to be called Rowan. Norcross understands and thinks the discussion is more centered on the name than the substance. He doesn’t have a problem with getting “the name straightened out so that kids who are there today are entitled to have a Rutgers University diploma.” Five or 10 years from now, he said, they may see it differently and he calls for discussion about what happens when current students have graduated.


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