The Research & Development Council of New Jersey Honors The New Jersey Institute of Technology

NEWARK, Nov. 6-- The Research & Development Council of New Jersey has named Saul Fenster, president of New Jersey Institute of Technology, educator of the year. The council also gave a patent award to the civil engineering department at NJIT for inventing pneumatic fracturing, a process that uses drills, fractures and injected gases to clean contaminated soil.

Fenster and John Schuring, chairman of NJIT's civil engineering department, will accept the awards during a Nov. 8 dinner at the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City.

(Editor's Note: For information about attending the award's ceremony or interviewing Fenster or Schuring, please contact the public relation's department).

The Research and Development Council of New Jersey is a non-profit organization that supports the advancement of research and development throughout New Jersey. The council supports initiatives in educational, scientific and industrial research.

The council's educator of the year award recognizes Fenster's impact on education as well as his work in training scientists and researchers of the future.

"Saul Fenster has shown dynamic leadership in and dedication to education," says Robert Schaffhauser, the council's awards committee chairman. "He has been instrumental in guiding students into the fields of science and technology, and as a result has helped to cultivate today's young minds into tomorrow's great researchers and scientists."

Fenster, president of NJIT for nearly a quarter century, helped transformed a small engineering school into a nationally known public research university.

When Fenster was named the university's sixth president in 1978, NJIT was a modest commuter school with 5,000 undergraduates and no residence halls. This fall, the university enrolled 5,600 undergraduates and 3,200 graduate students. It has grown from a significant engineering college and a new school of architecture to a comprehensive university comprised of six colleges.

Fenster's watch has been so effective that in 1996 the state legislature named NJIT as one of three public research universities, describing it as "essential and necessary for the welfare of the state and the people of New Jersey."

Fenster, who has made New Jersey his home since 1963, has been an active player on the state level. He is a board member of Prosperity New Jersey; the Edison Partnership, the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, the New Jersey Association of Colleges and Universities, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, the Council on Competitiveness, and the Liberty Science Center.

He has been a board member of the Regional Plan Association, the Public Affairs Research Institute of New Jersey, Union County College and the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame, founded and sponsored by NJIT.

Fenster earned a bachelor's degree from City College of New York, a master's degree from Columbia University and his doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. He has authored or co-authored numerous publications including research papers, technical articles and textbooks, most notably Advanced Strength and Applied Elasticity, now in its third edition.

John Schuring, who will accept the council's Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for pneumatic fracturing, said NJIT engineers began working on the process in 1988. Back then, he said, most civil engineers were focused on digging and removing contaminated soil.

NJIT, on the other hand, found a way to treated contaminants in the ground without removing the soil. Pneumatic Fracturing uses deep drills to create a network of fractures in contaminated soil. Once the network is formed, Schuring said, engineers inject one of a variety of gases, solids or powders into the fractures. The injected ingredient mixes with the contaminants and forms a biological reaction that causes "a degrading of the contaminants," Schuring says.

Pneumatic fracturing has been used successfully to clean contaminated army bases and commercial sites across the country as well as abroad. NJIT received the first patent for pneumatic fracturing in 1991.

"The patent submitted by NJIT demonstrates and meets all of the criteria we look for when evaluating patents," Schaffhauser says. "It addresses a current problem - contaminated soil - in a very novel way. The result of this patent is a product that clearly benefits society."


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a “perennially most wired” university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations 
(973) 596-3433