Classic Signals: College inaugurates Gitenstein

Every week, Features Editor Ashton Leber hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

In Oct. of 1999, R. Barbara Gitenstein became the 15th president to serve the College community. Gitenstein took office and became the first female president on campus. This July, Gitenstein announced her plan to retire in June 2018, after serving 18 memorable years. Gitenstein will leave behind both academic and physical contributions to the College that have improved the institution’s focus on higher education.

Gitenstein becomes the College’s first female president. (Ashton Leber / Features Editor)

Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein was formally inaugurated as the 15th president of the college last Friday in the Recreation Center.

The audience, comprised of faculty, staff and dignitaries, but very few students, filled the almost three quarters of the hall, which had been rearranged to accommodate a stage for the ceremony and a pit for the Wind Ensemble.

Dignitaries in attendance included Governor Christie Whitman, who was dressed in academic robes, and former TCNJ presidents Harold W. Eickhoff and Clayton R. Brower.

Bringing greetings “on behalf of the state of New Jersey,” Whitman cited the college’s superior academic and athletic records in addition to some of Gitenstein’s accomplishments since joining the college nine months ago, including “an excellent singing voice.”

“It is a very special honor, as the first female governor of the state of New Jersey, to share in the inauguration of the first female president of the College of New Jersey,” she said. “Quite literally, as today’s theme proclaims, the face of leadership is changing.”

Dr. Daniel Crofts, chair of the history department, spoke on behalf of the faculty and staff, saying, “the faculty eagerly extends the hand of partnership to President Gitenstein and the administration team she has begun to assemble.”

According to Crofts, the faculty is prepared, as teacher-scholars, to engage students with imagination, commitment and effort.

“President Gitenstein,” Crofts said in his concluding remarks, “We are ready!”

Crofts was followed by SGA President Nick Sbordone, who reminded Whitman that “this is probably the first event in about six years or so at which you are not the most important person.”