1968: In November 1968, the New Jersey legislature approved a $202.5 million capital construction bond issue, including $15 million earmarked to build a state college in southern New Jersey. The bond issue was the culmination of years of intense political wrangling over proposed sites for the new institution of higher education. Elizabeth Barstow Alton, a member of the original Board of Trustees, and powerful State Senator Frank S. Farley were among the most influential supporters for bringing a four-year college to the southern part of the state.
1969: Ultimately, legislation establishing the school was passed in 1969. A 1,600-acre tract in the heart of the Pinelands in the Pomona section of Galloway Township, Atlantic County, was selected for the site. In June, Dr. Richard E. Bjork was named as the first President of the College.
The Trustees originally voted to name the school South Jersey State College. At the urging of the Board of Higher Education, which opted not to act on the proposed name, the Trustees reconsidered and named the institution Richard Stockton State College. It had been thought the original name would confuse the school with Rutgers’ College of South Jersey. The new name, commonly referred to as Stockton State, honored the memory of New Jersey’s signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1970: Ground was officially broken on the new College campus on December 9, 1970, near the site of what is now A-Wing. When it became clear the new buildings would not be ready for the September 1971 admission of students, the Trustees selected the Mayflower Hotel in Atlantic City as the temporary campus.
1971: Classes began on schedule with the commencement of the first academic year in September 1971. The College officially took shape as 1,000 students, (50 of whom were Educational Opportunity Fund students), 97 staff and 60 full-time faculty took over the former resort hotel. By December, occupancy of the first phase of the new campus construction took place, with the transfer of classes and offices to Pomona during the winter holiday period.
The Council of Black Faculty and Staff was formed.
1972: September 1972 marked the first full academic year at the new campus, as well as the initial occupancy of A-Court in the campus student housing apartments by 128 students. By February 1973, the opening of the Phase II of the campus buildings (F-H Wings) took place.
1973: On June 3, 1973, Stockton’s first graduating class took part in ceremonies as 290 students received their diplomas. The first four-year class followed on June 8, 1975, with 475 receiving their degrees. Stockton alumni now totaled 1,106. The following month, completion of Phase III (through L Wing) took place.
1975: Accreditation of Stockton State College by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools was granted in December 1975.
1976: In October 1976, the 550-seat Performing Arts Center opened, bringing cultural opportunities and entertainment previously unavailable in the region. Audiences have been thrilled by world-class concerts, lectures, and productions ever since.
1979: Peter M. Mitchell, the second President of the College, was appointed in June 1979.
1980s: Additional buildings and wings were added as the College enrollment climbed past 5,000 students:
- Housing II opened in November 1981
- N-Wing College Center in February 1983
- Housing III, which made Stockton the most residential of the state colleges, opened in 1986
- The Residential Life Center (later named for Ann F. Townsend) opened in April 1987
- Lakeside Center opened in 1988.
1983: In the midst of this growth, Vera King Farris was named third President of the College
May 25, 1983.
1990: The College opened the Holocaust Resource Center, one of the first hosted by a public college. The Resource Center, including a library and archive of video and audio taped histories of Holocaust survivors and artifacts from the Holocaust, became the hub for the school’s pioneering role in Holocaust and Genocide education. This role would grow to include offering the nation’s first Master of Arts program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (1999) and conducting teacher training in Holocaust Education for thousands of teachers.
1991: In July 1991, Stockton College was reaccredited unconditionally for another 10 years by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education, with a special commendation for achieving social and intellectual diversity.
1993: The College name was changed to The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
By December 1993, all the buildings comprising the academic complex went online with a new environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art, geothermal heating and cooling system, which saved more than $300,000 each year in fuel costs.
1994: Stockton’s activities and accomplishments in the sporting world kept pace with its new facilities. In 1994, the school was selected as training site for the World Cup soccer team from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which advanced to the second round of the tournament for the first time in the nation’s history. An international soccer match was staged here with Trinidad and Tobago.
1995: In October 1995, the newly expanded and renovated Library was dedicated.
In November 1995, Stockton’s women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four and the College was selected to host the tournament.
1996: In April 1996, a new $9.6-million Arts and Sciences Building, designed by renowned
architect Michael Graves, opened, and a resolution was passed for the construction
of a new multi-purpose Sports Center.
The Saudis returned in 1996 for their Olympic Games training camp and exhibition matches vs. the United States and eventual gold medalists, Nigeria.
1997: The State Commission on Higher Education approved changes in the programmatic mission, authorizing additional graduate programs on an incremental basis.
A $450,000 grant was awarded to Stockton by Atlantic County to start an Education Technology Training Center. The Center opened later in the year, providing teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade school districts with professional development opportunities to infuse technology into the classroom.
Researchers from Stockton and Rutgers University joined forces in 1997 to establish the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve on the Mullica River.
1999: In January 1999, Stockton awarded its first graduate degrees in the Masters of Business Studies program. Today, the College offers six nationally accredited graduate degree programs in Business (M.B.A.), Holocaust and Genocide Studies (M.A.), Instructional Technology (M.A., Nursing (M.S.N.), Physical Therapy (M.P.T.), and Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.).
Stockton was also recognized by the Templeton Foundation in 1999 for outstanding leadership in the field of character development. The foundation lauded Stockton for the CHEER (Civility, Harmony, Education, Environment, and Respect) Conference to reduce prejudice, violence and bigotry in schools while championing cultural diversity and for the College’s leadership role in Holocaust education. In December of that year, President Farris spoke at the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, hosted by the Prime Minister of Sweden and attended by 44 national heads of state.
2000: The $17-million Sports Center opened in May 2000. The project also included upgrades to athletic fields, lighting of the fields, a new running track and other amenities for sports and recreational purposes.
2001: In April 2001, Stephen E. Dunn, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, received the2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for “Different Hours,” a collection of poems.
2002: Men’s soccer coach, Jeff Haines, was named NCAA Coach of the Year for Division III for guiding the Ospreys to a 25-1-1 record and the national championship. It is the most wins in school history and a record number of soccer wins in the NCAA in any division.
Stockton entered into a partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in August 2002, to transform the historic Carnegie Library building in Atlantic City into a satellite campus. CRDA invested more than $6 million in renovations and improvements, and Stockton was to pay $1 in rent on the building for each of the first five years. As a result of the agreement, the historic Beau-Arts-style building, an Atlantic City landmark since 1904, was saved from the wrecker’s ball and continues to be utilized for educational purposes.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed the accreditation of The
Richard Stockton College in June 2002. The action did not ask for follow-up reporting
prior to 2007, signaling the Commission’s confidence in Stockton’s ongoing self-assessment
and planning activities.
The Interdisciplinery Center for Hellenic Studies is founded.
2003: Dr. Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., was named fourth President of the College in June 2003. The former Dean of School of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Philosophy, American Studies and Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis and Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Saatkamp was selected following a nationwide search. He is a world-renowned scholar and educator and a man of proven leadership ability. Dr. Saatkamp is also a world-class academician, philosopher and author whose published and edited works include 48 books and 45 articles. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the works of philosopher George Santayana.
Wendel A. White, Professor of Art, is awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in recognition for his photography of black communities in small towns.
The Small Business Development Center of Atlantic City merges with Stockton.
2004: The Southern Regional Institute (SRI) and Educational Technology Training Center (ETTC) moves to its own building in Mays Landing.
The former A-Wing Lecture Hall was rededicated as the Elizabeth Alton Auditorium. An extensive renovation of the Alton auditorium was completed in 2009.
Stockton opens its campus in Atlantic City at the historic Carnegie Library Center, the multi-use facility that serves the College and the residents of Atlantic City and region as an educational and instructional facility and conference center.
2005: The College develops a Facilities Master Plan, an ambitious, strategic plan that addresses the chronic space shortage and positions the College to grow dynamically.
The Stockton Text Center and Drama Discovery Series is established.
The New Jersey Center for Hospitality and Tourism Research is created.
Social and Behavioral Sciences offers its first graduate program, the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.
The College holds its first Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
2006: The Doctor of Physical Therapy, Stockton’s first doctoral program, is approved by the State of New Jersey.
Stockton develops an Aviation Research and Technology Park with the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center to perform research and engineering in the areas of systems engineering, air traffic management, human factors, safety, security and information technology.
Stockton begins three year program to convert traditional classrooms into high-technology electronic classrooms.
The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program announces its new Homeland Security track, the first homeland security program in the country that is linked to a graduate-level Criminal Justice curriculum.
2007: The College establishes the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy to foster
inquiry into the vital questions of ethics and civility and an ongoing dialogue among
state leaders and citizens.
Stockton is awarded the largest single gift to date in its history, a $500,000 gift from the Leo B. Schoffer family to name Stockton’s Holocaust Resource Center in honor of Schoffer’s parents; Sara and Sam Schoffer.
Two additional gifts are granted to the Holocaust Resource Center, one of $250,000 by The Azeez Foundation of Egg Harbor Township, and the other of $100,000 by Mr. Jack Koopman of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Stockton offers its first Stockton CSI, a residential summer camp for high school students who want hands-on experience with a criminal investigation and trial.
The College establishes the Stockton Center on Successful Aging (SCOSA); its mission is to develop programs that promote healthy, successful and civically engaged aging among New Jersey’s rapidly growing older population.
Stockton launches a Homeland Security track in the Master of Arts in Criminal justice program and becomes a member of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, the nation’s premier homeland security executive program.
Stockton honors G. Larry James, Dean of Athletics & Recreational Programs and Services and a 1968 Olympic gold and silver medalist, by renaming its track and soccer facility the “G. Larry James Stadium.”
College Board of Trustees approved a resolution to change the former Divisions of the College to Schools. Former academic “divisions” are changed to “schools” so they can grow their degree programs and operate independently.
The School of Education and School of Business are created.
2008: The School of Health Sciences is established.
Stockton Affiliated Services, Inc. (SASI), a non-profit auxiliary organization for The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey is incorporated.
Constitution was adopted establishing the Faculty Senate of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
2009: The South Jersey Center for Digital Humanities is founded.
The Stockton Center for Community Schools is established.
Stockton launches its new MSW Program.
New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE), Southern Regional Office, is founded.
2010: Stockton develops a partnership with the Noyes Museum.
The South Jersey Regional Internship Center is created.
The Lloyd D. Levenson Institute for Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism has been established in Stockton’s School of Business.
The College purchases the historic Seaview Resort.
Stockton announces plan for a 14,000 square foot satellite campus in downtown Hammonton, NJ.
2011: Stockton College is among 115 “Community Engaged Institutions” selected nationwide for the prestigious Community Engagement Classification as compiled by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The 154,000 square foot Campus Center officially opened its doors on Commencement Day, May 7.
The College receives its largest single gift in its history, a $1 million anonymous endowed gift to be used for the direct support of students facing exceptional financial hardships.
Stockton College enters a cooperative agreement with the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA) which enhances opportunities for students in the Stockton Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies (HTMS) program and SHA students in the Management Internship Program (MIP). As part of the agreement, qualified Stockton will have clear pathways for admission into Cornell’s appropriate graduate programs.
The inaugural William J. Hughes Center Civility in Government and Politics Award is presented to W. Cary Edwards, former member of the NJ General Assembly, Chief Counsel to Governor Thomas H. Kean, Attorney General for New Jersey and Chairman of the State Commission of Investigation.
2012: The Stockton College Center for Public Safety and Security opens in the Office of Continuing Studies.
The FRST Program, designed to offer a sustained, year-long academic experience for Freshmen, is approved by the Faculty Senate.
The Art Gallery holds its inaugural exhibition with works from the Visual Arts faculty.
Dean Pappas, Richard Stockton Trustee, and wife, Zoe, announce $1,150,000 gift to Stockton.
The Library is named after the College’s first president, Dr. Richard E. Bjork.
Stockton announces gifts and pledges totaling $20.4 million have been received and campaign goal has been exceeded. With two years remaining in the campaign a new target of an additional $2 million for student scholarships is introduced.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education affirms Stockton’s reaccreditation with two commendations after a successful decennial evaluation.
The inaugural meeting of the Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance (HESIG) Policy Steering Council supported by a grant from the President’s Strategic Initiative Fund is held.
Stockton launches a Master of Arts in American Studies.
Stockton opens its first instructional site in Ocean County, New Jersey, the Manahawkin Instructional Site.
2013: Kramer Hall, the College’s Hammonton Instructional Site, opened on January 31, 2013. The building is named after Lynn and Charles Kramer for their many years of service and philanthropic support.
Cape May County’s first instructional site of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey was formally opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, April 29, 2013 at the Anne Azeez Hall in Woodbine, NJ.
Stockton College dedicated its $39.5 million Unified Science Center in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 18, 2013. The 66,350-square-foot, three-story facility expands Stockton’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
2014: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), the first woman to be named to the United States
Supreme Court, spoke before a gathering of nearly 3,000 in March in the Sports Center.
She emphasized the importance of teaching civics and spoke of the hurdles she faced
as a woman in the male-dominated legal arena.
The presentation was the first in the Pappas Visiting Scholar Series, which was made possible by a gift from Stockton Trustee Dean Pappas and his wife, Zoe.
“You Make the Difference - The Campaign for Stockton College” generated donations
and gifts of $25,363,687 - far exceeding the original goal of $20 million set by President
Herman Saatkamp in 2011.
The campaign, which began with a silent phase in 2007 and publicly kicked off in 2011, helped transform Stockton’s main campus with new centers and programs, added major scholarships, and led to the opening of new instructional sites in Woodbine and Hammonton.
Faith and reason - two pillars in the life and work of Dr. Demetrios J. Constantelos, came together in October 2014 as Stockton, in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies, dedicated the Constantelos Hellenic Collection and Reading Room. The room is open to students, faculty and the community and acts as the statewide repository for the New Jersey Greek-American Oral History Project.
Stockton entered into an agreement with Rowan University that enables students to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics from Stockton and a Bachelor of Science Engineering degree from Rowan in five years.
Stockton Seaview dedicated a time capsule on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary on Nov. 13, 2014, preserving the present for future discovery. The time capsule location will be marked with a stone plaque for future resort employees to unearth on Stockton Seaview’s 200th Anniversary in the year 2114.
Stockton and Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine announced a dual degree program to provide students with the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from Stockton and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from RowanSOM at an accelerated pace.
2015: Stockton University became New Jersey’s newest university of higher learning on Feb. 18, 2015, when the Board of Trustees voted to change Stockton’s official designation and name from that of a college to a university.
“Since its founding in 1969, Stockton has had many names, but one consistent mission: excellence in teaching, dedication to learning, and a tradition of community service,” said President Herman Saatkamp. “In becoming a university, we honor those values while continuing our journey as an environment for excellence and a partner in New Jersey’s social and economic development.”
The change was approved by Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, after research and study by her office and outside consultants, who visited the campus and recommended that Stockton be recognized as a comprehensive university.
Stockton had been known at various times as Richard Stockton State College, Stockton State, and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Whether to seek the change had been the subject of research and internal discussion at Stockton for nearly two years. Faculty, staff, students, prospective students and parents, alumni and over 1,400 members of the public in South Jersey were surveyed, and “town hall” discussions were held.
The results of the surveys, independent research and other feedback led the Pan-College Task Force on University Status, comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the community, to recommend in September 2014 that the change be pursued.
Harvey Kesselman, an alumnus who was a member of Stockton’s first class in the Mayflower Hotel on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City in 1971, on Dec. 2, 2015 was named president of Stockton University by the Board of Trustees.
“Dr. Kesselman is a resourceful and inspired leader who happens to have a unique personal and professional history and knowledge of Stockton,” said Board Chair Madeleine Deininger, a member of the Class of 1980. “We are privileged to have a president who has grown along with the institution, as he has gained national status as an educator. His enthusiastic energy and dedication to students are legendary and we appreciate having his heart and his head working on behalf of our Stockton community.”
“I am deeply honored and extremely proud to become Stockton’s fifth president,” said Kesselman. “I am excited by the opportunity to lead our wonderful university at this pivotal time. Enrollment is growing, and we are expanding our Galloway campus with two new academic buildings and a dramatic new entrance. We also are exploring a public-private partnership that would enable Stockton to expand its presence in Atlantic City and be a major part of its renaissance. My wife, Lynne, who holds two degrees from Stockton, is as enthusiastic as I am about the University’s future, and the chance to serve.”
Kesselman has more than 35 years of experience in higher education. He previously served Stockton in many leadership roles, including as provost and executive vice president, dean of the School of Education, interim vice president for Administration and Finance, CEO of the Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center (SRI&ETTC), and vice president for Student Affairs.
Kesselman’s contract as president begins Jan. 1, 2016 and runs through June 30, 2019. He became acting president in April 2015 when former president Herman Saatkamp announced his intention to retire after August 31 and then went on medical leave. Kesselman was named interim president in September.
2016: Stockton University concluded the $23 million sale of the Showboat property in Atlantic City to Showboat Renaissance, LLC on Jan. 15, 2016.
“Stockton is closing this chapter in our history, and moving on to exciting plans for the university’s future, which include new academic programs, expanding both community partnerships and global outreach, and construction of major new facilities which will transform the Galloway campus,” said President Harvey Kesselman.
The sales agreement provides for Stockton student internships at the facility. Additionally, the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club would work with the hotel operation to accommodate customers interested in golfing.
Stockton University’s School of Business earned accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an international body whose accreditation has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business programs.
“Accreditation by the AACSB is considered the hallmark of excellence, and we are proud that Stockton is among such select company worldwide,” said University President Harvey Kesselman. “Dean Janet Wagner and our distinguished faculty deserve to be recognized for the academic pre-eminence of the School of Business, which is one of only five institutions in the United States to have earned this accreditation in the past year.”
Lori A. Vermeulen began work as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in June 2016. Her responsibilities include providing the vision, leadership and strategic planning for the university’s academic programs, providing direction and support for the recruitment, appointment and advancement of faculty, assembling and allocating resources to support academic programs, strengthening the links between the university and local and regional employers for the purposes of internships, clinical and practicum positions such as student teaching and employment opportunities.
Vermeulen has over 20 years of experience in the field of higher education, in many leadership roles. She formerly served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCU), where she was also a tenured professor of Chemistry. She served as interim associate dean and chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, from 2003-2007.
She holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Princeton University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Scranton.
President Harvey Kesselman highlighted the university’s growth on his inaugural national tour, “A Distinctive Vision: Embracing Stockton’s Future.” As the fifth president of Stockton, Kesselman, a 1979 alumnus, proudly shared the transformation of his alma mater with alumni, donors, and other friends of the university in visits to Florida, California, New York, Pennsylvania and three locations in New Jersey, including Atlantic City.
Kesselman unveiled his strategic vision for Stockton’s future, which focuses on “students first,” advancing the university’s mission of excellence in teaching, support for scholarship and dedication to service.
The tour highlighted strategic priorities for Stockton, including developing the academic, administrative and financial resources to become the premier educational institute in the region; continuing the university’s strategic planning process; and improving and strengthening the university’s internal operational efficiencies. The institution continues its commitment to the four pillars of a Stockton education: learning, engagement, global perspectives and sustainability, also known as LEGS.
President Kesselman shared the university’s plans to expand its presence with a campus in Atlantic City, N.J., and discussed Stockton’s commitment to investing in new academic opportunities and technologies to attract prospective students, benefit our region, state and nation, and expand the university’s scope internationally.
The Inauguration of President Harvey Kesselman was celebrated on Sept. 23, as well over a thousand representatives of Stockton’s past, present and future gathered at the Galloway, N.J. campus.
Keynote speaker Jon Blair, an Academy-Award-winning film director and producer with long ties to Stockton, noted Kesselman's unusual career path: "To the best of my knowledge, he is the only university president in the entire United States who has done the equivalent of what in my trade would be starting out in the post room on the very first day the institution came into being, and then rising over the years to run the place. It is a phenomenon common enough in commerce, but unique in academe."
Kesselman, who was a member of Stockton’s first class in 1971, said: “I have had a front-row seat as the institution first defined its mission, and I’ve watched it grow and develop and respond to changes in education, industry, our region, and society. I am deeply humbled and extraordinarily proud to be in a position to ensure that a Stockton degree becomes more valuable each and every day of my presidency.”
Stockton earned national and state recognition for its commitment to the environment. The university received the Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Excellence and Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development. The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Healthy Ecosystems category went to George Zimmermann, a professor of Environmental Studies who was the lead campus proponent for the university’s Forest Management Plan, a model for forest management in New Jersey.
Enrollment achieved a new record of 8,728 in Fall 2016, exceeding the previous two years’ record growth.
Stockton received a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health, to examine a neurodevelopmental pathway in the brain. Stockton students have a major role in the research, working with faculty on the three-year project to investigate the mechanisms in neural stem cells that can lead to neurological pathologies.
Students were accepted for Mission 11 of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program through the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. The program takes experiments designed by students to the International Space Station for experimentation in the microgravity environment. The flight will launch in 2017 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and members of the Stockton team are expected to attend.
Internationally known artist Manfred Bockelmann donated seven portraits of the murdered brothers and sisters of area Holocaust survivors to Stockton. The large-scale drawings, done in charcoal on burlap, are part of Bockelmann’s “Drawing Against Oblivion” exhibition, shown for the first time in the United States at Stockton’s Art Gallery. Over 4,000 schoolchildren and their teachers, along with hundreds of Stockton students, faculty and staff and members of the public visited the exhibition which included a total of 34 portraits of children murdered by the Nazis. An international crew making a documentary about Bockelmann’s work taped extensively on campus.