Inauguration 2013September 16, 2013
Ali A. Houshmand, shown here at the July 1 integration ceremony for RowanSOM, will officially be inaugurated as the University's seventh president on Friday, Sept. 20.
For just the seventh time in its 90-year history, Rowan University is welcoming a new president.
Ali A. Houshmand will officially become Rowan’s seventh president during a formal inauguration ceremony on Friday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. in Pfleeger Concert Hall, Wilson Hall.
For more on the inauguration and to view Houshmand’s full biography and a video slide show of his time at Rowan, visit www.rowan.edu/inauguration.
Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks and State Senate President Steve Sweeney will lead a host of state and local dignitaries to celebrate Houshmand’s inauguration.
Rowan benefactor Henry Rowan, former University President Mark Chamberlain, and delegates from more than 25 colleges and universities in the region—and from as far away as Tennessee—are expected to join with University trustees, Rowan Foundation board members, faculty, professional staff, students and alumni to honor Houshmand and mark the historic day.
The inauguration ceremony, which will include faculty in full academic regalia, is open to all members of the Rowan community and area communities.
Sweeney, Hendricks, Board of Trustees Chairman Linda Rohrer, Alumni Association President David Burgin, Student Government Association President Surbhi Pathak, and University Senate President Bill Friend all will speak before Houshmand accepts the presidency and delivers his inaugural address.
The Most Reverend Dennis Joseph Sullivan, bishop of the Diocese of Camden, will deliver the invocation, while Rabbi Michael Fessler of Congregation B’nai Tikvah-Beth Israel in Sewell, will deliver the benediction.
Musicians and choir members from Rowan’s College of Performing Arts will perform.
Rowan Radio will carry the inauguration on WGLS Channel 2, available at wgls.rowan.edu.
Houshmand, who joined the University in 2006 as its provost, was named interim president in 2011. In June of 2012, he was named president.
He takes the helm at Rowan during an unprecedented period of transformation, much of that growth a direct result of his ambition and vision.
Under Houshmand’s leadership, Rowan this year became only the second institution in the nation to have both M.D.- and D.O.-granting medical schools. Rowan opened Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU)—the first new medical school in the state in more than 35 years—in Camden in 2012 and integrated the School of Osteopathic Medicine (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey) on July 1 to form RowanSOM. Rowan also integrated Stratford’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Additionally, this summer, Rowan became the second comprehensive research university in the state through the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Act. Under the act, Rowan also is partnering with Rutgers-Camden to develop a new College of Health Sciences in the city.
Rowan torch in hand, Houshmand leads students around the track during the 2012 Relay for Life event, which is organized completely by students. In the past two years, his team, Houshmand's Heroes, has raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society.
Entrepreneurial in his approach to leadership and extraordinarily student-centered, Houshmand’s goal is to increase enrollment to 25,000 students in a decade, quadruple research funding to $100 million annually and to increase Rowan’s operating budget to $1 billion, making the University one of the region’s key economic engines.
In doing so, he is leading Rowan to broaden research and expand academic offerings and disciplines, particularly in the areas of science, technology, business, engineering and medicine.
Since Houshmand joined Rowan, external funding has grown by 40 percent. This year, admissions applications increased 20 percent and the University hired 60 new faculty members.
Born in Iran, Houshmand earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and mathematical statistics from the University of Essex, United Kingdom. He earned a second master’s degree and a doctoral degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
After earning his doctorate, Houshmand worked as a staff analyst for United Airlines, developing large-scale optimization and forecasting models. Leaving industry for academia, he joined the University of Cincinnati and, later, Drexel University, where he taught and held various administrative positions before coming to Rowan.
Rowan’s former presidents include: Donald J. Farish (1998-2011); Herman D. James (1984-1998); Mark M. Chamberlain (1969-1984); Thomas E. Robinson (1952-1968); Edgar F. Bunce (1937-1952); and Jerohn J. Savitz (1923-1937).