New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) invites students, alums, faculty and other members of the NJIT community to sing happy birthday in honor of the university’s 125th anniversary. The event takes place Oct. 7, 2006, at 1 p.m. during the university’s annual fall homecoming known as NJIT Day. An anniversary procession led by Highlander game participants will pull a float with an oversized anniversary cake to Lubetkin Field, Warren and Lock streets. Several minutes later, the assembled university community will sing happy birthday, then share cake and beverages. At 2 p.m. the NJIT men’s soccer game versus Philadelphia will commence.
(EDITORS: To cover event, please call that day, Jack Gentul at 201-341-1286.)
Other NJIT Day events will include an exhibit of important NJIT patents filed through the years, an art show, an exhibit of historic mechanical musical instruments, campus tours, a chili cook-off for young alumni and students playing war games with remote control vehicles.
NJIT has a rich history born from the aspirations of industrial age giants the likes of Thomas Edison, who lived and worked in Newark and Essex County.
Like many port cities around the world, the Newark, New Jersey, of the late 19th century was a thriving industrial center. Its factories churned out thread, metals, paints and leather goods. In Newark, Edison set the stage at his Ward Street factory for his later astounding achievements, and his rival Weston also established in Newark the first factory in the United States for commercial production of dynamo electric machines.
At the height of this age of innovation, in 1881, an act of the New Jersey State Legislature essentially drew up a contest to determine which municipality would become home to the state's urgently needed technical school. The challenge was straightforward: The state would stake "at least $3,000 and not more than $5,000" and the municipality that matched the state's investment would earn the right to establish the new school.
The Newark Board of Trade, working jointly with the Newark City Council, launched a feverish campaign to win the new school. Dozens of the city's industrialists, along with other private citizens, eager for a work force resource in their home town, threw their support behind the fund-raiser. By 1884, the collaboration of the public and private sectors produced success. Newark Technical School was ready to open its doors.
The first 88 students, mostly evening students, attended classes in a rented building at 21 West Park Street. Soon the facility became inadequate to house an expanding student body. To meet the needs of the growing school, a second fund-raiser -- the institution's first capital campaign -- was launched to support the construction of a dedicated building for Newark Technical School. In 1886, under the leadership of the school's dynamic first director, Charles A. Colton, PhD, the cornerstone was laid at the intersection of High Street and Summit Place for the three-story building later to be named Weston Hall, in honor of the institution's early benefactor. A laboratory building, later to be called Colton Hall, was added to the campus in 1913.
Under the formidable Allan R. Cullimore, PhD, who led the institution from 1920 to 1949, the modest Newark Technical School was transformed into the robust Newark College of Engineering. Campbell Hall was erected in 1925, but during the lean years of the Depression and W.W.II, only the former Newark Orphan Asylum, now Eberhardt Hall, was purchased and renovated by the college.
The post-war period was one of enormous activity during which President Cullimore --like today's post-Cold War university presidents -- challenged the college to turn "war-time thinking into peace-time thinking." In 1946, about 75 percent of the freshman class had served in the armed forces. Cullimore Hall was built in 1958 and two years later the old Weston Hall was razed and replaced with the current seven- story structure. Doctoral level programs were introduced and six years later, in 1966, an 18-acre, four building expansion was completed.
In 1975, with the addition of the New Jersey School of Architecture, the institution had evolved into a technological university, emphasizing a broad range of graduate and undergraduate degrees and dedication to significant research and public service. A stronger-than-ever Newark College of Engineering remained intact, but a new university name -- New Jersey Institute of Technology -- signified the institution's expanded mission.
A broadened mission called for the creation of a residential campus and the opening of NJIT's first dormitory in 1980 began a period of steady growth that continues today. Two new schools were established at the university during the 1980s, the College of Science and Liberal Arts in 1982 and the School of Industrial Management in 1988. The Albert Dorman Honors College was established in 1994, and the newest school, the College of Computing Sciences, was created in 2001.