Robert A. Altenkirch, president of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has been appointed by Newark Mayor Sharpe James to a commission to study the city’s downtown redevelopment plan. The plan includes a proposal to construct a $300 million arena for the Devils, the prominent New Jersey professional hockey team. The panel will be comprised of a dozen business, education and political leaders throughout the city.
"For well over a decade, Newark has sustained a level of economic development that has been applauded for its impressive vision, scope and vigor,” said Altenkirch. “Now the city is poised to capitalize even further on the gains it has achieved to date. I am proud, personally and on behalf of NJIT, to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of the community as a member of the mayor's commission."
Seton Hall Law School Dean Patrick Hobbs will lead the panel which also includes Newark School Superintendent Marion Bolden, Jim Courter, vice chairman of IDT and Ralph Izzo, president of Public Service Electric & Gas.
James asked the commission to complete the task in 90 days.
Altenkirch joined New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) as the university's seventh president in July 2002. Altenkirch brought to NJIT a wide background in university research, teaching and administration with extensive experience in program development, fundraising and federal relations.
Altenkirch’s accomplishments to date have included strengthening the university’s intellectual property program, creating a better sense of community among students, creating a strategic growth plan for the university and overseeing an $83.5 million building program. The program, to be completed in the fall of 2004, will bring to both the campus and Newark two new multi-story structures totaling 375,000 square feet. Internationally acclaimed architect Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, New York City, designed the structures.
A mechanical engineer, Altenkirch holds a doctorate degree from Purdue University, a master’s degree from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue. He is the author of more than 50 publications and nearly 100 presentations in combustion and heat transfer and has served as principal investigator for ten space shuttle experiments investigating the spread of fire in reduced gravity. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.