Rutgers University named a neuroscientist and longtime educator as the new president of New Jersey's flagship school on Wednesday.
Robert Barchi, who formerly led Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, will start his tenure Sept. 1 as the 20th president of Rutgers, which serves more than 58,000 students on campuses in New Brunswick, Camden and Newark. He'll replace Richard McCormick, who announced last year that he would retire at the end of this school year.
The university board appointed Barchi, 65, to serve as president and a professor during a vote at the New Brunswick campus. He'll be paid a base salary of $650,000 a year plus benefits, live in the university-owned president's residence, and be issued a university vehicle.
Barchi said his focus would be on transforming the university into a public-private hybrid that serves the diverse population of New Jersey, attracts students from other states, and becomes a vital engine for the state and national economy.
"We have to be an importer of intellect, not an exporter of intellect," he said.
Barchi said his other priorities will include increasing diversity at Rutgers "from the top down"; expanding areas such as life sciences research, looking for way to transform intellectual property into economic benefit; and increasing the school's profile and philanthropic relationships.
Barchi, a clinical neurologist, announced in July that he was stepping down as president of Jefferson, a medical school in Philadelphia. He was previously provost at the University of Pennsylvania.
He said Wednesday that his Rutgers appointment felt "like coming home." He added that although he was born in Philadelphia, he spent his childhood years in Westfield, N.J., before moving to the Trenton area in high school and commuting to Saint Joseph's prep, a high school in Philadelphia.
He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgetown University and a doctorate and medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
McCormick has led Rutgers since 2002.
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